by Eric van der Steen
The carillon sings cleanly through the rain,
through the pallid rain of my country,
and small gray waves break against
the empty ships on the quay.
When everything is so silent all
the ancient things become ascendant;
where galleons of the East once lay at anchor,
the rain falls into the silted harbor.
The golden years drifted away,
but still the narrow rows of houses
keep staring with expectant eyes across the sea.
Hope never freed any man or any thing,
but keeps them waiting. And it sings a lie
in the rain and amid the perished things.

(Enkhuisen is one of the “dead cities” of the Zuider Zee.)
Translated by David Cornel DeJong