high flight

i sat watching the “time team” on abc last night – what a great show, for those who haven’t been lucky enough, its an archaelogically based show, hosted by tony robinson of baldric fame, set mainly in the uk.  last night the team were on the search for a lost spitfire which went down in a french field during a dogfight with german fighter planes.  the pilot of the plane was buried in a local churchyard and his family knew only that he was killed, in action.  long story short, they found the remains of the spitfire and were able to put the pieces together for the brother of the missing pilot.  at the end of the episode, as the credits were rolling, a beautiful male voice recited a poem that i found so familiar.  i spent the next hour or so searching through every book of prose and poetry that i have to find the writer of this amazing poem….

 

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 nor 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.

by john gillespie magee

 

bird.gif

 

after hearing this, then reading it again this morning when i finally found it, i just wanted to soar through the sky with wings of gold and swoop down, low over water, touching it with my hands.  stunning writing.

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