A poem for Oscar, High Flight, by John Gillespie Magee, an American pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War.
"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 paw, and touched the face of God."
Oscar slipped the surly bonds of earth at 4.30 on the afternoon of Wednesday 5th July aged just 5 years and 5 months. He had deteriorated over just three days to the point where he was not eating and had to be carried everywhere. No longer a happy boy. He spent his last day lying outside in the fresh air as he always loved to do. The poem, High Flight is reminiscent of Oscar's exuberance and unstoppable zest for life.