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Poems of Flight

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.

Poems of Flight - Aviation Poems Poetry - Airplanes and Rockets3/24/2023: This poem, including the title, was generated automatically by ChatGPT based on the following request:

"write a rhyming poem about radio controlled model airplanes"

That was it; no other prompting.

There is nothing profound about the prose itself; the profundity is in the capability of a computer program to take a simple request and then intelligently (artificial though it may be; i.e., AI) and assimilate all the pertinent information to come up with every word shown below. ChatGPT created all five verses exactly as shown.

Flying High: Ode on a Radio Controlled Model Airplane

In open fields and skies so blue
The hobbyists gather, a dedicated crew
With radio controls held in their hands
They fly their planes over grassy lands.

Model airplanes of every shape and size
They soar and loop through the skies
Each one crafted with meticulous care
For the thrill of flight beyond compare.

The roar of engines fills the air
As pilots maneuver with skill and flair
Aerial acrobatics on display
As spectators watch from far away.

With precision and grace, they fly
And to the heavens, their planes defy
Radio signals guide them true
As they perform for me and you.

So let us gather 'round and see
The wonders of RC model aviation free
As we marvel at these flying machines
And the skilled pilots who make them gleam.

High Flight

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 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 Magee, Jr.

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,

Of the 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)

That the earth could never contain

All of the God I knew.

I felt the blue mantle of space,

And kissed the cloud's white hem,

I 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.

Cuthbert Hicks

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.

From victory 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;

Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,

At 'em boys, Give 'er the gun! (Give 'er the gun now!)

Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,

Off with one helluva roar!

We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!

Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!

Additional verses:

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 knew then!)

Souls of men dreaming of skies to conquer

Gave us wings, ever to soar!

With scouts before And bombers galore. Hey!

Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!

Bridge: "A Toast to the Host"

Here's a toast to the host

Of those who love the vastness of the sky,

To 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;

If you'd live to be a grey-haired wonder

Keep the nose out of the blue! (Out of the blue, boy!)

Flying men, guarding the nation's border,

We'll be there, followed by more!

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 .



Posted March 19, 2023
(updated from original post on 11/19/2010)

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