While I am not a big poetry fan, every once in a while I run across a poem that
I really like. Many of them, or course, are related to aviation and space flight.
This page will capture those that I can remember and are able to locate online.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered
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
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 ever 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
The Blind Man Flies
I am blind: I have never seen
Sun gold nor silver moon,
Nor the fairy
faces of flowers,
Nor the radiant noon.
They speak of the dawn and the dusk,
And the smile of a child,
deep red heart of a rose,
As of God, undefiled.
But I learnt from the air to-day
(On a bird’s wings I flew)
earth could never contain
All of the God I knew.
I felt the blue mantle of space,
And kissed the cloud's white hem,
heard the stars’ majestic choir,
And sang my praise with them.
Now joy is mine through my long night,
I do not feel the rod,
For I have
danced the streets of heaven,
And touched the face of God.
One More Roll
We toast our hearty comrades who have fallen from the skies,
and were gently
caught by God's own hand to be with him on High.
To dwell among the soaring clouds they've known so well before.
roll to tail chase, at heaven's very door.
As we fly among them there, we're sure to hear their plea.
To take care my
friend, watch your six, and do one more roll for me.
- Commander Jerry Coffee, Hanoi, 1968
U.S. Air Force Song
Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun;
come zooming to meet our thunder,
At 'em boys, Give 'er the gun! (Give 'er the
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,
Off with one helluva
We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air
Minds of men fashioned a crate of thunder,
Sent it high into the blue;
Hands of men blasted the world asunder;
How they lived God only knew! (God only
Souls of men dreaming of skies to conquer
Gave us wings, ever
With scouts before And bombers galore. Hey!
Nothing'll stop the U.S.
Bridge: "A Toast to the Host"
Here's a toast to the host
Of those who love the vastness of the sky,
a friend we send a message of his brother men who fly.
We drink to those who
gave their all of old,
Then down we roar to score the rainbow's pot of gold.
A toast to the host of men we boast, the U.S. Air Force!
Off we go into the wild sky yonder,
Keep the wings level and true;
live to be a grey-haired wonder
Keep the nose out of the blue! (Out of the blue,
Flying men, guarding the nation's border,
We'll be there, followed by
In echelon we carry on. Hey! [originally "SHOUT!]
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!
- Robert Crawford 1939
Note that Crawford wrote this during the era of the "Army Air Corps," so "U.S.
Air Force" is the modern form. Words in parentheses are spoken, not sung.
According to Great Aviation Quotes, in 1938, Liberty magazine sponsored a contest for a spirited,
enduring musical composition to become the official Army Air Corps song. Of 757
scores submitted, Robert Crawford’s was selected by a committee of Air Force wives.
The song was officially introduced at the Cleveland Air Races on 2 September 1939.
Fittingly, Crawford sang in its first public performance.
The first page of the score, which Crawford submitted to the selection committee
in July 1939, was carried to the surface of the Moon on 30 July 1971 aboard the
Apollo 15 'Falcon' lunar module by Colonel David R. Scott and Lieutenant Colonel
James B. Irwin. Interestingly, at the moment the 'Falcon' blasted off the surface
of the Moon with Scott and Irwin on board, a rendition of the 'Air Force Song' was
broadcast to the world by Major Alfred M. Worden, who had a tape player aboard the
'Endeavor' command module which was in orbit around the Moon. Scott, Irwin and Worden
comprised the only all-air-force Apollo crew .