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High Flight

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 winds along, and flung
   My eager craft through footless halls of air,
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
    I’ve topped the windswept 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.

By Royal Canadian Air Force Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr., an American flier who flew with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Some sources say he died in aerial combat, in a Spitfire, on December 11, 1941 while the latest definitive history indicates died on a training mission.

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