My High Flights…
McConnell Air Force Base…
'High Flight' was introduced to me by a civilian employee at the McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas. I was there a total of three months on two separate occasions. As the aircraft structures specialist, I was a member of the Singapore Airlines engineering team which was responsible for the Boeing 707 structural inspection and life extension programme.
Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee wrote this most-loved sonnet by pilots, aviators and later, the astronauts. It had engaged me at first sight – for it resonated with my passion and intensity for planes and flying. Its high-energy expressions of flying inspired me, and I have often used them to inspire me on my other endeavours.
From my personal mental vault of inspiring poems, I love to share this sonnet here with you.
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, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
May 'High Flight' inspire you to soar higher and farther in your life.