5 thoughts on “Courtship in Italy”

  1. [Editor’s note] This modest epigram is from a 1945 anthology of poems published in the Mediterranean edition of Stars and Stripes. I know nothing about Edward Jasowitz, and neither does Google, but I am grateful for these two lines. I am impressed with the way the poem speaks about human adaptability in difficult circumstances, by its suggestion that courtship rituals in particular survive even periods of war, social dislocation, and hunger. The word “yield” is especially wonderful, enriching its primary reference to changing fashion with a subtle sexual echo (“yield” meaning to give in to a sexual proposition). To a social historian the imagined encounter between an American soldier and an Italian woman might be simply grim, driven by lust and hunger rather than affection, but the poem generously assumes a courtship decorum that will outlast the current difficult circumstances. This poem offers a sharp, unromanticized understanding of human frailties and human dignity, but it is satire without mockery.

  2. Yes, this little poem is a good example of military humor. It’s funny, but kind of sad, but most humor is like that, now that you mention it.

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