Treasure Island

John Gillespie Magee

(9 June 1922 – 11 December 1941 / Shanghai)

High Flight (an Airman's Ecstasy)



The text of this poem could not be published because of Copyright laws.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
This England Books  

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John Gillespie Magee's Other Poems

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Read poems about / on: laughter, silence, wind, sun, god, dance, dream, sky

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  • Cassandra Wylie (5/18/2010 3:34:00 AM)

    I, too have been searching for this poem. I just got high speed internet...I live in a remote area on the Big Island of Hawaii...and now I can find almost anything.
    Still, I didn't remember enough to find it. Then I thought of my brother-in-law who is a retired pilot. I emailed him and of course he knew the poem and sent it to me along with a wikipedia page for more info. on the poet and his background. I did not know he was only 19 and was killed doing what he loved most. Reading this poem takes me high into the sun split clouds. Amazing what words can do. (Report) Reply

  • Juan Olivarez (5/14/2010 1:25:00 PM)

    This is indeed the most beautiful awe inspiring and soul touching poem i have ever heard.It has been my favorite since infancy when i too would turn on my t.v. to watch saturday morning cartoons and that deep melodious voice would recite this truly enchanting poem to the back dropp of that jet flying through the clouds and would culminate with the American flag waving in the breeze. Mr. magee had a God given talent. And i have to beleive that he was just too good for terrestrial beings so the good lord in his infinite wisdom took him home where he would be truly appreciated. (Report) Reply

  • Ripper Moore (4/4/2008 1:43:00 PM)

    Long ago, a literature teacher told me that a poem should have rhyme and meter, but be read or recited in such a way that the listener is largely unaware of it. This is easier with some poems than others, of course. The U.S. Air Force used to run a sort of commercial, wherein you saw a jet fighter (F-11 Starfighter I think) flying amid sun-split clouds and footless halls of air, while a deep sonorous voice recited this poem. He did it so well that I honestly did not realize it rhymed until I saw it in print. It made a profound impression at the time, and this poem remains one of the most beautiful and evocative I have ever heard. I only recently learned that Magee wrote this when he was only nineteen, and that he died in an air accident a month afterwards. So sad, and such a tragedy for the world- think what he might have written by now... learning that made me appreciate the poem even more. (Report) Reply

  • Sherry Malone (3/31/2008 11:28:00 PM)

    This poem has been in my heart since 1968 after hearing it for the first time at Upper Heyford England Air Force Base... I am a Military BRAT and proud of it.
    1973 I lived at Eglin AFB, Florida and at midnight when a certain TV channel was signing off the National Athem was played with the background being Air Force Jets soaring thru the heavens with HIGH FLIGHT being recited by a deep voice.. Oh the chills it would bring to me... I live far away from any Military base but I do live within 5 minutes from Bristol Motorspeedway in Tenn. and each Nascar Event the Blue Angels do a fly over and each time I watch these marvelous machines fly over I can hear this poem in my heart and still get the chills of great pride of the USA.... I guess becuase I relate to this poem from my childhood.
    I am so thankful I have found it once again to be able to share it with friends and family..... (Report) Reply

  • Caroline Misner (3/25/2008 9:01:00 PM)

    I have found it!
    This is one of the most beautiful peoms ever written written,
    I first studied this poem in my 12th grade senior English class. I fell in love with it but could never find a copy anywhere. Now after 25 years I've found it again. (Report) Reply

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