High Flight

John Gillespie Magee Jr.
Date Written/Revised  


 Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
 And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
 Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
 of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
 You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
 High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
 I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
 My eager craft through footless halls of air....

 Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
 I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
 Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
 And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
 The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
 - Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.


John Gillespie Magee Jr. (9 June, 1922 - December 1941). John Magee Jr. was an American aviator and poet who was a pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force and died as a result of a mid-air collision over Lincolnshire during Word War II. This world renown poem was written on 18 August, 1941 only months before his death from the crash. He had written it after having climbed to 33,000 feet in a Spitfire fighter plane.


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