Anno VIII

Delio Tessa

Te vedi e me ven voeuja de trà su.
On pantalon te set, on bon vivan:
ecco quel che te set. On tocch de pan
e la pâs… Ah, la pâs, vera? e poeu pu.

Si ben che l’è on cagon, di volt anch lu
squas l’è duvis de moeuv el fabrian;
ma el «golza mia», come i paisan!
Su, cadreghee de la malora, su,

catacrincio, te squinternen la ca!
Fin là dove te rivet a vedeij
l’è on spettacol de roij e de stabieij.

Magnen, se muden, tornen a magnà…
Moeuvet, tamberla! … Oh dess, l’è lì ancamò,
cont el mostacc in man, tra el sì e el no.

Year VIII*

Delio Tessa

I see you and you make me nauseous.
You’re a Pantaloon*, you’re uncaring:
that’s what you are. Bread for the eating
and peace…Ah, peace, right? And nothing else.

Even though he’s a coward, he thinks
sometimes of getting up off his butt;
but he “wouldn’t dare”, just like the other folk!
Get movin’, you damn loafer, get movin’,

for the love of god, they’ll tear your house down!
For as far as your eyes can see them
it’s a spectacle of pigs and pigpens.

They eat, alternate, and then eat again…
Move you oaf! …Oh yeah, there he is still,
between a yes and a no, holding his chin.

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi 2019

*Fascist era

*Pantaloon is one of the principal characters in commedia dell’arte known for his greed and the importance he gives to own status.

Delio Tessa (18 November 1886 – 21 September 1939) was a Milanese poet; he is the most renowned writer in that dialect after Carlo Porta. The originality of his poetry stands mostly in his expressionism and his satirical rendering of death. An antifascist, he was hostile to the culture of his time. He mixes Milanese dialect (a language spoken in the city and in the hinterland) with Italian and foreign languages such as French and English.

It seems the poet wrote the poem in 1930 after viewing his own portrait “in atteggiamento perplesso, proprio come quell’immaginario se stesso cui dedica i propri versi e che rappresenta il tipo dell’antifascista timoroso e incerto” [looking perplexed, exactly like the imaginary self to whom he dedicates his verses, and who represents the timid and hesitant antifascist]- L. Rusca

Italian: Ti vedo e mi viene voglia di vomitare. Un pantalone sei, un tira-a-campare: ecco quello che sei. Un pezzo di pane e la pace… Ah, la pace e poi piú, vero? Benché se la faccia sotto, anch’egli alle volte è quasi dell’avviso di muover le chiappe; ma «non osa», come i paesani! Sú, pentolone della malora, sú, perdio!, ti squinternano la casa! Fin dove arrivi a vederli, è uno spettacolo di porci e di porcili. Mangiano, si avvicendano, tornano a mangiare… Muoviti, tanghero!… Oh sí, se ne sta lí ancora, con il mento in mano, tra il sí e il no. (trad. D. Isella)

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