During the dark days of
the Blitz, John Gillespie Magee, Jr., was one of the many Americans
who enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Within a year, he was
sent to England and assigned to the No. 412 Fighter Squadron, RCAF,
where he flew the Supermarine Spitfire. On September 3, 1941, he
flew a high altitude test flight in a new model of the Spitfire V.
As he climbed upward through 33,000 feet, he experienced great
exhilaration, which inspired his immortal line, "to touch the face
of God". He later expanded it into a poem.
Three months later, he was killed in a midair collision. He was
only 19 years old. Although young John Magee was lost, he had sent a
copy of his poem to his father, who was then rector of a Washington,
DC church. His father printed it in church publications. This led to
its inclusion in an exhibition of poems called Faith and Freedom
at the Library of Congress in February 1942.
High Flight has since become the most famous aviation poem
ever written. It has inspired countless aviators and astronauts. It
is the subject of a special exhibit at the National Museum of the
United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. U.S. Air Force Academy
cadets are required to memorize it.
The poster magnificently depicts his Spitfire climbing toward the
peak of its exciting flight, and cites the full text of his ageless
and classic poem. A caption, located in the lower left corner, tells
the story behind it.
Standard poster is
large 24" x 36" size that fits standard frames. Printed on
paper using non-fade inks, then coated to provide satin finish
and provide protection from UV rays and scratching.
Laminated poster is our standard poster totally encapsulated in
heavy 3 mil
plastic for long, long life.
Standard: No. GT106-HS. Only $9.95
Laminated: No. GT106-HFS. Only $14.95
Oh! I have slipped the surly
bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward Iíve 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. Hovíring there
Iíve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
Iíve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind Iíve trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God