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.
Spitfire Pilot John Gillespie Magee Jr
412 Squadron RCAF
Killed Dec 11th 1941 aged 19