The Crown Prince gets preferential treatment
In the Hanoi Hilton. Hear the songbird sing
Of kind handling by the people he has injured
From the air. What will the rear admiral think though,
Should his son accept that offer of release?
Better hang on in there, rather than return
Ignominiously at best, at worst a Rose of Tokyo.
“Darned if I will,” says the cowboy who has destroyed
As many of his country’s planes as he has of the enemy’s –
Lopping power-lines from the sky, airman out of a rodeo.
“Pa’s in command of all our forces here in the Pacific.
Can’t just hold my breath till I turn blue
As I used to when a kid and get him to get
Me out of here. To the bitter…got to see this through.”
But when he does get back, after it’s all over,
Hasn’t this Prince a job to do, blocking all info on
Unreturned POWs? Some may know too much
About him. Show their families no justice, rail at them
And scream, insult them, drive the wives to tears,
Push a grandma out of her wheelchair. Well, how dare
She question his loyalty, doubt his patriotism even?
Puts his faith in his right to the might of his fathers.
And if prisoners get dishonoured by being left to die
At least their secrets die with them. He’s got a career
To fly. There’s his hate’s volcano to be stoked.
Thin, dark and starving, kept in the caves that years
Later will boost tourism, won’t they drop off soon
Like flies?” Satellite photos show the markings
Pilots such as our Prince have been trained to use
When signalling for rescue. He will insist
The Pentagon sees nothing more than shadows
And vegetation. He will agree with the CIA
That these are saw-grass clumps, no doubt,
Mere rice-paddy walls. What you get in Viet Nam,
Never the desperate name of a missing man
Gouged into a field. But then, as one investigator
Puts it to the Senate. “Guys, if grass can spell out
People’s names and secret digit codes,
Then I have found a new respect for grass.”