The Library of Congress (LOC) gives a full context presentation of John Gillespie Magee’s famous “High Flight” poem written from the cockpit of his 1941 Spitfire, as he trained to defeat the Nazis.
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 ever 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.
LOC offers us this concluding analysis, a nod to cognitive warriors of non-physical battles.
By writing “High Flight,” John Gillespie Magee, Jr., achieved a place in American consciousness arguably greater than any he could have achieved through heroism in battle.
Non-physical, lyrical combat is in fact… battle more relevant today than ever with the acceleration of attacks using AI.