Help with Milanese?

I’m troubled by a scatological sonnet.

I’ve tried using Francesco Cherubini’s brilliant Vocabolario milanese-italiano (check the collection of euphemisms for shitting (“grease your aubergines”) under the entry for cagaratt, but bits of Carlo Porta are beyond me:

It would be nice some time to leave behind the tourist office clichés, endlessly recycled by underpaid & Braudel-free guidebook writers, that Cataloonia constitutes the galaxy of arse.

Similar posts

  • Nothing new in politics
    Two brothers [illegible] one kingdom. One dreamed of peace for his country, the other fought valiantly for his ideals: This photo (scroll
  • Galician gastronomy for people with false teeth, cats and dogs: chack it out!
    From Don Colin and the Xunta de Galicia, some gruesome translation with the splendid tagline “Flavour Routes, chack them out!”: “Check them
  • Shagging with wolves
    Bad news for Basque neo-Nazi thugs hoping to meet in remote places with Catalan wuzzocks: you may get eaten by a
  • Here’s looking at you, lunch
    I think it’s actually a slow worm, but here’s Thomas Decker’s Honest whore anyway: Lord Hippolito. Scarce can I read the stories
  • Chatedral
    The Venerable Bede said that whoever talks in church talks not with his own voice but with that of the devil


  1. Seventy years after Braudel placed ordure bearing quill to hoarded bumwad in his Magrehbi pen, he continues to be trumped by notions of national identity and their accompanying primordial events.

    So there!

  2. So you finally have come to the end of your Latin, as the German saying goes? A literary lowrider like me cannot help, and my Italian sucks. My Milanese is but based on guesses.

    Maybe of interest is that there is a whole e-book of Porta’s poetry

    There Peppa can be found in several poems and the one you quote is written slightly differently.

    What I would do is ask directly the good people at (“On dialett che fa pagura”). They might be happy about your interest.

  3. After reading a little bit more, the whole issue of Insubres, today’s Insubria movement and Domà Nunch looks pretty fascinating.

    [The connections with Catalonia not only go through the arse. But(t) then: what’s not connected?]

    Eco-nationalism! What an idea.

  4. All you’ve got to do is add an extra “o” to “Po” and you’ve got a magnificent River of Poo to throw at the world.

  5. Well, ecologism (national, neo, rural or whaddaheck) is based on that precious stuff (think local)! So there’s an intrinsic bond that unites this wonderfully scatological poetry and present-day avant-garde like Domà Nunch etc.

    (One last doubt: Was it, in the end, that precise extra “o” that made you come up with “Cataloonia”?)

  6. Just happen to have a native Bergamasque speaker next to me, what bits are causing the problem?

  7. I’ve got a (self-described) native Milanese next to me (bij wijze van spreken) and we’re both struggling, with only a couple of bottles and God left to help or obstruct us. Please please tell us what it means, and we’ll dance a bergamasque.

  8. Forwarded to an Italian friend. Caveats: she’s not a literary expert, and she’s from Turin.

  9. My Turinese friend suggests:

    Ah, Peppa, Peppa, great flower of shit,
    Yes, I know of your great feats, of your miracles;
    Uhh, march, go and hide, you ugly show,
    You are a rotten cow, a big mouth.
    For thirty genoan coins? – Oh! You are a wicked tongue
    Yet it is still so, you have exchanged the cock
    Of the Genoan, and without much chatter
    You told him: Go, give me the money and get going.
    You broken pan? Now what have you acquired?
    What use is it to you to be beautiful with no honour?
    Nothing: you are a left over good enough for the friars.
    It is of no use a deflowered to your successor;
    I will tell you what you can do:
    You can go away with your Motherfucker.

  10. I should say she adds the perhaps fatal qualification that “I added a bit of my interpretation where I really could not find the original meaning of a word.”

  11. Hey that sounds kinda nice. May I make some observations?

    rotten pig, not cow

    l’è – she is?

    racol- noise, ado

    broken pan looks great, but has to bear no ? but an ! (sure just a typo)

    nol serv pù might have to be “of no use *anymore*”

    saratt looks a lot like the Croatian srati – to shit and fits in well with cagador. saratt sù – shit (up)on. But that might be a very long shot.

    There are still parts (“damm i danee…”) which leave me clueless, i.e. have to trust the word of others. And is fraa really a reference to friars, or does it mean some kind of rawly crowd, the bros of the hood?

    [On the poem itself: I do wonder why the author didn’t write “senz’ onor”. Seems to be better for rhythm.]

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *