THE TRISANNA RIVER, THE POEM AND THE FORGOTTEN POET

When the Paznaun poet Johann Pfeifer died in Meran on New Year’s Day 1888, hardly anyone back home in Galtür remembered him anymore. But Pfeifer had had a great career. And left a lasting legacy behind.

The farmer’s son, born in Galtür in 1820, proved to be a clever student and went to the grammar school in Meran. He later completed his studies in law in Vienna and entered the civil service, where he rose to become secretary to Archduke Karl Ludwig. When Pfeifer retired due to poor health, he settled in the favourable climate of Meran – and dedicated himself properly to his real passion, poetry.

Pfeifer published several volumes of nature poetry. One of these poems is particularly dear to us, as it bears the same name as our website: “The Trisanna”

 

Die Trisanna
The Trisanna

Was strömst du in rasender Eile
Why do you flow in such rushing haste

Der Silvretta entsprossene Maid?
Silvretta-sprung damsel?

Trisanna, du weiße, o weile!
O Trisanna the white, oh stay a while! 

Noch lässt dir der Freier wohl Zeit.
Surely your suitor can wait still.

 

Gedenke der Fluren und  Matten,
Remember the fields and mountain meadows,

Die du durchsprungen so schnell,
Through which you have leapt so fast,

O denke der Weiler und Schatten,
O think of the hamlets and shadows,

Der Wälder und Wiesen so hell.
The woodlands and pastures so bright.

 

O denke an Ischgls Wiege,
O think of the cradle of Iscghl,

An Fimbas und Jamtals Schoß,
The bosom of Fimba and Jamtal,

O dass mich die Ahnung betrüge
O let my foreboding deceive me

Und glücklicher würde dein Los!
And yours be a happier fate!

 

It took, in fact, until 11 June 1989 for people in Galtür to remember the famous Paznauner. Since then, 101 years after his death, a memorial plaque has hung on the house where Johann Pfeifer was born, in remembrance of the poet of Paznaun.