The Venice of the North.
Moss-covered stones. Battlements.
The quayside in the rain.
In the love-water floats
a handbook on the writing
of letters to your sweetheart,
for when it’s going well,
and for when it’s fading out.

From Poems 1948-1993 (Gedichten 1948-1993, 1994)
By Hugo Claus
Translated by Tanis Guest

First published in The Low Countries, 1998