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My First Poet Hero

Blog Posted:1/14/2013 9:23:00 AM

Shortly after Magee's first combat action on November 8, 1941, Magee sent his family another poem ("... another trifle which may interest you."). Or rather, the beginnings of a poem, never quite finished. Although it is not certain, this poem is quite possibly the last that Magee wrote. Per ardua ad astra is the motto of the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces such as the RAAFRNZAF, and theRCAF. It dates from 1912 and was used by the newly-formed Royal Flying Corps, and is translated as "Through adversity to the stars".

"Per Ardua"
(To those who gave their lives to England during the Battle of
Britain and left such a shining example to us who follow, these
lines are dedicated.)
"They that have climbed the white mists of the morning;
They that have soared, before the world's awake,
To herald up their foeman to them, scorning
The thin dawn's rest their weary folk might take;
Some that have left other mouths to tell the story
Of high, blue battle, quite young limbs that bled,
How they had thundered up the clouds to glory,
Or fallen to an English field stained red.
Because my faltering feet would fail I find them
Laughing beside me, steadying the hand
That seeks their deadly courage –
Yet behind them
The cold light dies in that once brilliant Land ....
Do these, who help the quickened pulse run slowly,
Whose stern, remembered image cools the brow,
Till the far dawn of Victory, know only
Night's darkness, and Valhalla's silence now?"

As a young man of 10 my first poet hero was John Gillespie Magee Jr. and the first poem I committed to memory was his poem High Flight which was the most famous poem ever written about flying.  He wrote the poem about three months before he died in 1941 at the age of 19. As you can see, the preceding poem was also written by John. I invite you to search for more of his work and likewise lament the loss of such a great life and talent that we could have shared for many years. After all, if he had lived he would now be 91.
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  1. Date: 1/14/2013 2:45:00 PM
    How 'bout this one "Sonnet to Rupert Brooke" "We laid him in a cool and shadowed grove One evening in the dreamy scent of thyme Where leaves were green, and whispered high above — A grave as humble as it was sublime; There, dreaming in the fading deeps of light — The hands that thrilled to touch a woman's hair; Brown eyes, that loved the Day, and looked on Night, A soul that found at last its answered Prayer... There daylight, as a dust, slips through the trees. And drifting, gilds the fern around his grave — Where even now, perhaps, the evening breeze Steals shyly past the tomb of him who gave New sight to blinded eyes; who sometimes wept — A short time dearly loved; and after, — slept."

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  1. Date: 1/14/2013 2:18:00 PM
    thanks for showing this one, Craig. Not familiar with it before, but I quite liked it.

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  1. Date: 1/14/2013 11:36:00 AM
    Beautiful Craig, will check out his other poetry thanks for sharing this, xxx

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  1. Date: 1/14/2013 10:38:00 AM
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful poem with us, Craig. There are 3 poems listed on the following site by this fine poet:

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  1. Date: 1/14/2013 10:11:00 AM
    This is so wonderfully, sensitively written. What a heartfelt dedication !! Thank you for sharing this...I will indeed look up this author. A talented young man he sad that he didn't live to share more words.

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10/2/2015 My Sister's Collage Free verseremember,
10/1/2015 Period Personificationfunny,
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9/24/2015 Jane Eyre Crown of Sonnetslife,love,
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9/19/2015 Two Bits Free verselife,
9/18/2015 Garden Party Sonnetgarden,
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9/16/2015 The Fads of Fools Quatrainhistory,life,
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9/10/2015 Another Special Day Free verselife,
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My Photos

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An Invitation to Dance Sonnetmusic,nature,
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Grandpa Coupletchildhood,loss,sadold,chi
Double Phantasy Free versebaby,loss,mystery,sad,
Something of a Dreamer Free verselife,
Silver Strands Biolove,mother,me,silver,
Montage Poetry Lyrichappiness,history,uplifti
A Mutual passion Blank verseromance,longing,longing,l
Spring Returned Rondeauhappiness,love,people,sou
Her Name Is January Personificationimagination,nature,new ye
Wind Power Rhymenature,
Gold Star Narrativechildhood,war,war,star,bl
Circle of Life Rhymedeath,introspection,life,
If Ever Sonnetfaith,hope,inspirational,
EULOGY FOR THE ELDON GALLERY, WATERLOO Free verseart,grandmother,life,plac
Conquering Rainbows Free versefantasy,for children,me,r
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AT THE BUS DEPOT Verseallegory,
Immersion Free verseintrospection,life,me,
The Jaded Eye Sonnetdeath,love,heart,heart,
In Strangler's Wood Rhymedeath,
THE OLD OAK TREE Free verseautumn,life,spring,summer
Bewitched Villanellelove,passion
FIRST CHERUBIC CHANCE Lyricmystery,uplifting
Wait Raven,I am coming Free versedeath
Grandpa's Study Free versefamily,life,loss,peace,
Passing Trains in Winter Rain Rhymedepression,
Amongst the Dross Sonnetdepression,introspection,
Closer Free versehope,life,love,peace,blue
A Solstice Free versedeath,faith,religion,
Sunlit Ambrosia Free versedaughter,father,happiness
Tanglaw -- Light Free versededication,life,love,moth
One More Time Curtal Sonnetfamily,
Black Diamond Night Free verseintrospection,life,nature
Haste Quintain (Sicilian)faith,fear,introspection,
Cornflower Blue Free versehope,life,love,mystery,dr
Bastard Sun Personificationnature,parody,
Ballet is Poetry Free verseart,music,
SHADOWLANDS Free versedeath,faith,grief,history
SO Many Questions Quatrainromance,moon,
FLEETING VISUALS Free verseadventure,art,
LONELY Free verselife,lonely,me,people,swe
POETRY IS AN ECHO Rispettoon writing and words,me,
Poe and I Rispettolonely,lost love,
Spring's Sweet Reality Free versedream,nature,spring,dream
The Angel Inside Rhymeallegory,angel,art,beauti
Back to Lost Rhymehistory,
Kiss the Rain Quatraingirl,people,rain,romantic
A Sepia Recollection Free versefamily,grandfather,
The Old Wooden Bench Sonnetimagination,old,old,
Every now and then Lyriclove,miss you,
SYLVIA Crown of Sonnetslife,poets,writing,
Her Requiem Rhymedeath,faith,mother,
O' Middle Child Free versei love you,love,son,
And Luke Williams Has Gone Celibate Free verselove,
BOTH ACHE AND JOY Free versefarewell,how i feel,life,
Verses for Vivian Lyricdepression,
The Pooka Sonnetanimal,horror,mythology,
The Swan Free versebeautiful,romantic,wife,
Una and the Lion Monorhymeanimal,girl,happiness,inn
Sleepless Night Dramatic Verseanger,death,farewell,memo
AS FATHER IS TO HIS DAUGHTER Free versefather,introspection,word
Midsummer dance on parchment paper Free verseabsence,allegory,
Into the Gloaming Sonnetpeace,
THE OTHER-WISE Free verseart,introspection,
-----night train------ -reverse poem- Rhymegoodbye,lost love,sad lov
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Mother and Child Narrativeangel,baby,beautiful,birt
Mending life Free verseanalogy,
You Caught The Wind Free versedeath of a friend,nostalg
Cinder Girl Rhyme 
Love Poem - 29 Free verselife,love,passion,peace,w
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Sheol Dramatic Verseabuse,dark,evil,fantasy,f
Aftermath Free versebaby,loss,winter,
Waterloo Bridge ekphrasisart,beauty,
Facets Of Loneliness Free verseloneliness,
Love never fades Rhymelonging,love,
Recalling Her Free versegrandmother,memory,
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remembrance Free versememory,
IN THE MOOD Light Poetryadventure,woman,
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