Memorial Window I - Air
February 23, 2009 saw the 100th anniversary of flight in Canada. In commemoration of that, and of the service of the men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force, I painted a memorial window. The window appears rather grubby and neglected. So too, alas, are our memories of our veterans' service.
The words in the painting are the opening of the poem "High Flight" by Pilot Officer John G. Magee, Jr., an Anglo-American who enlisted in the RCAF in 1940. He was killed in a flying accident in Britain on December 11, 1941, just a few months after writing this poem.
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
and Danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings:
Sunward Iíve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds Ė and done a hundred things
you have not dreamed of Ė wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence: hovíring there,
Iíve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
my eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up, the long, delirious, burning blue
Iíve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew Ė
And, while the silent lifting mind Iíve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee, Jr. 3 September 1941
October 2009, Acrylic on Canvas, 24" x 24". Private collection.
Copyright © 2016 E. Clare Stewart