"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

27 September 2010

"High Flight"

Daddy was a WWII pilot, and he especially requested that this poem, a favorite of pilots everywhere, be read at his funeral. It was written by John Gillespie Magee of the Royal Canadian Air Force, who was killed in action on 11 December 1941.

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 wind 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.


Debbie Esolen said...

What a wonderful poem he chose, Beth. It speaks of both the pilot's (in general) and of your daddy's willingness, almost eagerness, to meet God. And what an emblem for death is flight: a release from the bounds of this earth and a coming nearer to heaven.

Beth Impson said...

So true, Debbie!

Millie said...

This poem is beautiful in this context: what joy your father has in the presence of his Father now! Free of earth's surly bonds, now free from all brokenness. I rejoice for your father and continue to pray for you and your family.

Beth Impson said...

Thanks, Millie!

eutychus said...

this was framed in my own dad's house and also read at his funeral.

"By your last wish
We won't be sad
but know you will be missed
Advisor, husband, teacher, friend
But most of all- dad."

Beth Impson said...

Thanks, David. Daddies are so wonderful! I think of him so often . . .