Song about Nadiža river

For all who know and love Nadiža – whether the local Kotarji people from our valley or those coming from different lands – and for all who wish to know her better, here’s a song, by one Kotar man, Jurij Šimac, about this our Nadiža.

The song has been translated from the original Slovene by Thomas Keeler and Meta M.


Through the valley our river flows,
towards the line where border cuts.
Whence she comes – whence she goes?
Let's follow her to the end!

Secretly she comes to life,
‘Tween Jalovec and Muzec.
Four sources winding their own ways,
‘til at Srednje brdo they make her.

So she bursts upon the land,
vivacious Nadiža, away she blows,
with vigour under Stermca,
no rock to block her way.

Soon the first bridge cuts her,
a regal sounding crossing.
She rushes past House Nardin,
and weds her course to Namlin’s.

But all ye beware...

On her left dark Karst looms,
it is time for care.
Shear walls bear down,
roaring waves around,
making Jamnik’s waters brake.

Down now below Gradec,
in Bran, in Sovdan,
where under Prosnida,
dive the waters of Legrada,
through the tightest narrows,
hissing as they fall.

The chime of a mountain bell,
echoes down from high Logje,
up there all alone.

And then another bridge,
with the old way aboard,
for Robidišče folk.

The spray tumbles down,
frothing over stones,
rapid and unresting.

Now a mighty bend,
swings under Bridge Cesar,
at last the river slows.

Now beyond this bridge,
she dallies and drops her pebbles.
Looking down from high,
Saint Helena’s church,
eyes her greenly through the wood.

Now to where in summer,
flock the lively swimmers,
Bela then Podbela,
and gentle lapping on the shores.

Crystal clear our river,
through light bends and osier branches,
shimmering she’s seen.

And Mount Stol too sees himself,
reflected in her waters,
while thinking of old tales.

Skies flame at sunset,
her silver ribbon blazes,
below House Hurja at Korita Gorge,
sees purest hidden pools,
as magical worlds created,
as thoughts on her path to come.

At Rob she briskly bends
towards Matajur and Mija,
where to us she waves goodbye,
and says farewell to St.Volar.

Now she narrows tightly,
as if she were afraid
to carry on her journey
into Friuli’s plain.

So is our Nadiža...

Whenever she is tame,
her melody is welcome.
But sometimes she gets angry,
and her banks will not contain.

Then her course she bends,
towards the “broken bridges”
nought to spare,
all will yield,
our Nadiža this is she.

Jurij Šimac from Breginj