Tuesday, February 12, 2013

365 Poems: Taps on the Walls

Day 43

I was going to write a post full of excuses for no new poem -- a busy day at work with the announcement of the resignation of the pope, an evening spent finishing up reading a book for book club -- but then I heard this story on NPR's Morning Edition, and felt both chagrined, and incredibly inspired. 

It's the story of John Borling's book of poetry, 'Taps on theWalls: Poems from the Hanoi Hilton,' and for anyone who has ever thought he or she had writer's block, well, read this:
An Air Force fighter pilot, Borling was shot down on his 97th mission over Vietnam on the night of June 1, 1966. He spent the next 6 years and 8 months in a notorious North Vietnamese prison.
Sarcastically called the "Hanoi Hilton" by American POWs, it was a place of torture, deprivation, and often solitary confinement.
Borling spent much of his time there just trying to survive. He also composed poetry — in his head, without benefit of pencil or paper.
He is now out with a book of poems he wrote and memorized during those years, Taps on the Walls: Poems from the Hanoi Hilton. It's a tribute, as he puts it, to the "power of the unwritten word."
Click here for the entire story and do take the time to go listen to him tell the story. Awesome, in the literal sense of the word. 

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