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Thursday, November 23, 2023

Excessive Flights: Beginnings and Endings

 Excessive Flight

Oh! I’ve 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 accomplished 100 issues
You haven’t dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
Excessive within the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind alongside, and flung
My keen craft by footless halls of air. . . .

Up, up the lengthy, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with straightforward grace
The place by no means lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, whereas with silent, lifting thoughts I’ve trod
The excessive untrespassed sanctity of house,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr

After I write an extended work, resembling a memoir or a novel, I concentrate on construction in addition to on content material, notably whereas I’m enhancing the primary draft. For me beginnings and endings are vital. I attempt to fulfill the promise set out to start with with the ending.

The above Traces from the poem, “Excessive Flight” slipped into my thoughts, whereas I used to be flying over the  Channel on the best way to Heathrow Airport. That final line is a douzy!

Mark and I had been returning dwelling from Paris by way of London and Dubai. This was solely the primary brief leg of the journey. We’d left the identical approach, en path to Roma, ten days earlier.

The clouds under fashioned a panorama of ridges and rivers, that appeared acquainted to me, an Aussie voyager, however was constructed out of fairy floss. I may solely think about the wealthy French countryside, and the Manche far under, hidden by the snowy display.

It was an ideal one-hour flight. Only a few bumps. The aircraft had risen above the unhealthy climate in Paris. I brushed away a tear on the considered the Latin Quarter distant down under. I’d fallen in love with it half a century in the past. Rose twilight bands tinted the horizons on each side of the aircraft. I glimpsed the silvery half-moon, trying quietly down on the aircraft, and considered my younger grandson, additionally named Mark, about to have his fourth celebration the following day again dwelling. We had thirty hours of journey forward of us but. Why oh why was our beloved nation so distant from in every single place else?


On the third of September in 1941, eighteen 12 months previous John Gillespie Magee was flying at 30,000 ft in a take a look at flight of the Spitfire V.  As he climbed up above the clouds, he was impressed to jot down a poem, describing emotions of awe that overcame him when he flew  right into a realm of unusual magnificence far above the earth. As soon as again on the bottom, he wrote a letter to his mother and father. through which he enclosed a replica of the poem.

Flying fighter sweeps over France and air protection over England towards the German Luftwaffe, he rose to the rank of Pilot Officer.

Simply three months later, on the eleventh of December 1941 (and solely three days after the US entered the warfare), Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr., was killed, when the Spitfire V he was flying, collided with one other aircraft over England.  He was solely nineteen years previous.

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