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Copyright © 2001-2017 by Russ Meyer
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, untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
- John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
And now for a couple of variations on the High Flight theme:
Low Flight (a jet jockey’s response)
Oh! I've slipped through the swirling clouds of dust,
a few feet from the dirt,
I've flown the Phantom low enough,
to make my bottom hurt.
I've TFR'd the deserts, hills, valleys
and mountains too,
Frolicked in the trees
where only flying squirrels flew.
Chased the frightened cows along,
disturbed the ram and ewe,
And done a hundred other things,
that you'd not care to do.
I've smacked the tiny sparrow,
bluebird, robin, all the rest,
I've ingested baby eaglets,
simply sucked them from their nest!
I've streaked through total darkness,
just the other guy and me,
And spent the night in terror of
things I could not see.
I've turned my eyes to heaven,
and as I sweated through the flight,
Put out my hand and touched,
the master warning light.
- Author Unknown
Low Flight 2 (dedicated to all helicopter pilots)
Oh, I've slipped the surly bonds of earth
And hovered out of ground effect on semi-rigid blades;
Earthward I've auto'ed and met the rising brush of
And done a thousand things you would never care to
Skidded and dropped and flared
Low in the heat soaked roar.
Confined there, I've chased the earthbound traffic
And lost the race to insignificant
Forward and up a little in ground effect
I've topped the General's hedge with drooping turns
Where never Skyhawk or even Phantom flew.
Shaking and pulling collective, I've lumbered
The low untresspassed halls of victor airways,
Put out my hand and touched a tree.