It’s hard to categorize autobiographical prisoner-of-war accounts into any literary genre because they are more than moving. Perhaps no writings emphasize the range of emotions of POWs more than their poetry, and perhaps no collection of poems is as powerful and as poignant as Maj. Gen. John Borling’s Taps On The Walls.
A captain in the Vietnam War, Borling was held prisoner at the infamous Hanoi Hilton. There, he would write poetry to keep his mind sharp but, as prisoners weren’t afforded luxuries like pen and paper, Borling communicated with his fellow prisoners by tapping his knuckles on the cell walls in Morse code. Taps isn’t only a story of despair, however. Borling also wrote poems of encouragement, hope, freedom and even humor.