High Flight John Gillespie magee - Done by Grant Algeo

Poem and Analysis.

"Oh! I have slipped the surely bonds of Earth

This line describes that he has broken free from the ties that hold him to the Earth. Through the use of "Oh!" it is an emotionally response of freedom and the connotations of slipped refers to the sly manner in which he escaped. The bonds of the Earth would refer to gravity as it holds us to the ground.

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

This describes the happiness in which he feels when he defies gravity by the fact that he dances in the sky with the plane he flies as described by "laughter-silvered wings" which refers to the adrenaline rush he feels causibng the laughter when he flies the silver wings of the plane.

Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

It depicts that he climbs towards the sun and overjoys himself among the clouds that tumble along the sky.

Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things

It depicts the clouds being split by the rays of the sun as if it were the stairway to heaven. It also depicts ow due to flying he has done and accomplished so much more than the average man.

You ave dreamed of - Wheeled and soared and swung

It depicts that the average man only dreams of doing the things he has done such as wheeling the plane onto the runway and soaring and swing through the sky.

High in the sunlit silence. hov'ring there

this line shows that he finds peace within flying in and that he enjoys the silence within the sky and that he just hovers as he gazes upon the sunlit view below him.

I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung

This shows that e is going incredibly fast as he is able to chase "shouting wind" which refers to great wind speeds because it howls.

My eager craft trough the footless halls of air.

It sows tat he is eager to go where no one has gone before depicted by "footless halls" as it shows that no one has walked that pathway within the sky and he will be the first.

Up, up the long delirious burning blue

This is sown that he keeps chasing the sky higher and higher, so high that e loses consciousness which makes him delirious due to lack of oxygen within the atmosphere as he gets high within the "burning blue" which is the sky.

I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace

Flying comes easy to john as he is graceful when tackling the great winds within the sky.

Where never lark, or even eagle flew

John shows that he is greater than any creature of the sky.

And while with silent lifting mind I've trod

John trods through the sky with peace in mind and tat creates a beautiful since within his mind.

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

It depicts that the sky is johns holy sanctuary and that everyone is welcome within this sanctuary to allow themselves for peace within their mind.

Put out my and and touched the face of God.

When he sticks his hand out of his aircraft the air friction that touches it feels as if he is touching someones and that being God.


The 14 line poem in one stanza in the form of a sonnet which shows that these are every emotion he feels at once while he flies. he breaks up his sentences halfway through every line in order to build suspense to the reader and creates a sense of unpredictability as if they were flying with John.

Overall effect.

The poem has great imagery depicted with "burning blue" this depicts the sky as this burning sensation within him and around him and "Laughter-silvered wings" which depicts him inside the spitfire plane laughing and him internally overjoyed with the emotion that flying gives him. This effects the reader as if they were flying with John.


John Gillespie Maggee.

The poet John Gillespie Magee was born in Shanghai, China to an American Father and British Mother.In October 1940 Magee joined the Royal Canadian Air Force to fight the Nazis in Europe and received training at the St Catharines Station and at RCAF Station Uplands in Ottawa. After he became a Pilot Officer and had been given his wing ,he was stationed to Britain. He was assigned to No.412 Fighter squadron on the 30 of June 1941. He died on December 11 1941 at age 19 due to a mid-air collision ,he was buried with full service honours.

High Flight.

The poem was written by John Gillespie Magee during his time in the Royal Canadian Air Force while he after his 33,000 feet flight. He then inclosed the poem in a letter to his parents dated 3 September 1941. His Father ,the curator of Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Washington DC, then reprinted the poem in church publications. The poem became widely known due to the efforts of Archibald McLeish ,and later, the the Library of Congress who included the poem in the exhibition “Faith and Freedom” in February 1942. The poem was used by many famous Hollywood stars of the time used extracts of the poem in the Hollywood Victory Caravan as it toured the USA in the April and May of 1942 as well as US President Ronald Reagan suing parts fo the poem after the Challenger disaster of January 28 1986.

Created By
Grant Algeo

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