Ora sono ubriaco d'universo. (Ungaretti)

Learning (a poem)

for Nancy – happy 21st birthday

in pennsauken
firemen always comfort
a suited gentleman
blankly staring

once there were
no stares.

king george’s men
marched in red
ordered, purposed
to the battle

the heart moves
as it will.
all gentlemen know.


  1. Thanks for the heads up. Nary a word passes from my lips on this. You can find me on blogger as well – 4 blogs here.

    thanks for the poems and works

  2. This excellent, punchy with a whiff of mystery. That last stanza is a particularly fitting finale.

    The only line I would rework is blankly staring, not only because a ‘blank stare’ as such is a received phrase, but also because – to my mind – exactly this is the phrase and image the poem hinges on. The more eye-catching the image therefore, the stronger the poem. But other than that, great stuff.

  3. Yeah, “blankly staring” is a bit weird – I’ll be back to the drawing board with this for sure. Thanks for the heads-up!

    In Pennsauken:

  4. “the heart moves
    as it will.
    all gentlemen know.”

    I don’t have any praise or words that are worth much, but I *really* like these lines.

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