Yet More Foreign Cities

by Mike Horwood

“Nobody wants any more poems about foreign cities…” – quoted by Charles Tomlinson as epigraph to More Foreign Cities

… and then there was Kilpisjärvi,
mentioned by few poets, and visited
by even fewer heads of state,
ambassadors to the U.N.
and other assorted foreign dignitaries
whose dignity is legendary in

Kilpisjärvi. Where sometimes the sun
doesn’t set, where I once met a man with a parrot for a pet,
who explained over several whiskies
that this parrot could talk, and what it said
amounted to this, ‘Krii-ard-ak-wot’.

He waxed eloquent over this phrase,
who was eloquent in nothing else.

It’s not every day, nor in every city,
that one meets a man taught to talk
by a parrot.