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High Flight by John Gillespie Magee Jr. - Poetry Reading

High Flight -- A poem by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. About the poem -- Magee's posthumous fame rests mainly on his sonnet "High Flight", started on 18 August 1941, just a few months before his death, while he was based at No. 53 OTU. He had flown up to 33,000 feet in a Spitfire Mk I, his seventh flight in a Spitfire. As he orbited and climbed upward, he was struck with the inspiration of a poem — "To touch the face of God." He completed it later that day after landing. Purportedly, the first person to read this poem later that same day was fellow Pilot Officer Michael Le Bas (later Air Vice-Marshal M H Le Bas, Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group RAF), with whom Magee had trained, in the officers' mess. Magee enclosed the poem on the back of a letter to his parents. His father, then curate of Saint John's Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, reprinted it in church publications. The poem became more widely known through the efforts of Archibald McLeish, then Librarian of Congress, who included it in an exhibition of poems called "Faith and Freedom" at the Library of Congress in February 1942. The manuscript copy of the poem remains at the Library of Congress. About the poet - John Gillespie Magee Jr. (9 June 1922 -- 11 December 1941) was an American aviator and poet. He was born in Shanghai, China. He was serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force. During World War II, he died in a plane accident as a result of a mid-air collision over Lincolnshire. He is always remembered for his remarkable poem "High Flight" For more videos log onto Also find us on Facebook at Subscribe & Stay Tuned -
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