The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov


NEW! See Pavel's photos at Pavel's Camera. We update the page frequently. Check out the feeder visitors on Backyard Birds (and Squirrels).

Pavel's latest collection of poems, So Tell Us, Christ, is now available from Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. The cover art is "El Salvador"  by El Greco, from the Museo del Greco in Toledo.

Ave Maria University's Special Collections include printed, digital, and recorded materials by Pavel Chichikov. The university is currently developing a new Website.

Pavel's A House Rejoicing is available at, in print and on Kindle, and at Barnes & Noble. The cover art is "The Little Festive House," by Lisa Lorenz. Hear what Pavel says about the book. From Here to Babylon is also available in print and on Kindle.

 Lion Sun: Poems by Pavel Chichikov, published by Grey Owl Press, is available at Amazon. Also by Pavel are Mysteries and Stations in the Manner of Ignatius  and Animal Kingdom, from Kaufmann Publishing.

Pavel's poems inspired by Goya's etchings are at

Sylvia Dorham's moving The Book of Names is available at See Pavel's review on the book page!

Poet Charles Van Gorkom's blog may be found here.

All poems on this page are by Pavel Chichikov. They may be freely distributed, if not for profit, upon the permission of Pavel Chichikov ( and must be credited to Pavel Chichikov. No alterations in the text may be made. All copyright restrictions apply.

Please note: Pavel has no connection with CivFanatics and never has had.



Young (Sharp-Shinned?) Hawk

"Just Another Guest at the Feeder"

Photo by Pavel Chichikov





The birds are gone, the hawk is here

Absence is the sign of fear

She perches on a branch above

The feeding sparrow and the dove—

Full fed she is and yet she drives

The gentle feeders lest she dives


Like this the predators who may

Search for us another day

A different kind of carnivore

The armed and ruthless men of war—

Though gentle has this country been

Unused to warfare waged within


A century and more has passed

But it may come to us at last

And who will then flee from their places

But to be tracked by other traces?

I have dreamed of such a thing

A hunt afoot and on the wing






By God’s good will the old monk came

To a pagan temple in the desert

A pharaonic pagan temple

Long abandoned by its priests

(Rome was in its last decline)


Filled with idols and their eyes

Watching sightless through the columns

Desert demons still cavorted

Up and down the corridors


The Christian abba settled down

To spend the night among the fiends,

Stretched himself, put down his head

Upon a coffin painted over


With hieroglyphic messages

Signs and symbols of the dead,

Beastly bodied human faces,   

The panoply of pagan worship


When the sun had settled too

To rest upon a red horizon

He heard a muffled voice beneath him

Speaking softly: Who is that


Who leans his weight upon my coffin?

Then another answering:

Pay no heedcome let us bathe

The dust is soft and will refresh us


The abba stirred and looked around

To see the furtive shadows move,

Then he coughed and said to them:

Go back, go back into the darkness


In Jesus’ name be still, and go

That name, they cried, it does torment us

Tortures one who called and sent us

To fill the void of perished gods


That name, that name, we can’t endure it

Shadows jumped and then were still,

The abba sighed and laid his head

Upon the hollow coffin lid


Saw the demons hurl themselves

Across the threshold, pass the gate

And fade into the rising wind

That blew them onwards like the dust


Then he slept and dreamed of us

Who would be living afterward

To see the demons coming back

From all the deserts we had made






I saw her in the field

Where fresh new spirits played

Games of the immortal

Children of the Lord


There I saw her finding

The sphere of the immortal

A ball that was a pearl

Glowing from within


Her face was made anew,

Fresh, a glowing girl’s

Full of spirit wonder

To see such joy around her


She lifted up the pearl

Then she saw me watching

Smiled as if she wondered

If I was one she’d known


A strangeness out of place

Who only visited

The playground of the blessed

To see her shining face





The Old Iron Furnace

Photo by Pavel Chichikov





Captain Ricketts watched the passes

A ranging company’s young commander

Sent from the newest settlements

To stop the raids of the Indians


If the rangers on traverses

Heard the crack of a bounding stone

They would charge their muskets, test the wind

Their woodsman instincts set on triggers


The passes lead from the Alleghenies

Not much changed and yet this state

Has been transformed by centuries

Into a form ungraspable


Forebear of my wife he lived

In an age of sailing ships and strength

When iron drawn from these rough hills

Ran from chimneys made of stone


Where are we going now? We know

Nothing more than they knew then,

Three centuries from now these hills

Will rise above a mystery


Then perhaps no more of us

The wind descending from the slopes

Will blow across another wood

And through old fields long overgrown






The smell of gas, of rotten eggs

When they came home and so they called

A fire engine and the gas

Company—they were appalled


A fire engine came then later

Gas men who were also baffled,

They searched the house from roof to cellar—

A mystery with which they grappled


Till at last it was concluded

A puzzled beast had crawled inside

A pipe until it was occluded—

It might have lived, it might have died


Trapping gas inside the hole

A cause outside of their control

That showed how into houses seeps

The sulfurous when creatures creep






An image that I will not show

A photograph of something found

Behind the houses that we know

Above and not beneath the ground


An animal that has lain there

For days, that no one takes away,

Grinning fang and bristled hair

Slightly swelling day by day


It may have died distempered or

Of rabies or another cause,

Not battered by a passing car,

Intact with stiff outstretching paws


I thought: This is the shattered soul

That’s crushed but will not decompose,

That takes its time to rot, stays whole,

That never rose when Jesus rose


That waits for something to revive

The life in it though spiritless,

Contriving somehow to survive

While dwelling in its lifelessness





W. W. Denslow; illustration from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons





Where are we?

How did we get here?

Where are we going?


Three universal questions

Any life form that we meet

Will ask if it is sentient


Get beyond geometry

The canons of arithmetic

The ratios of energy


And these three questions

Will be those questions

They will ask


Whatever shape they be

Whatever place they live

Whatever history


If they do not ask those three

They are not sentient

But only beasts






Advent Candles.

Photo by Pavel Chichikov





Up and down these hilly streets

People string their lights to greet

The coming of the Lord and King—

Let every angel-glory sing


Wooden houses low and modest

Strung with lights as if a forest

Lighted round a donkey’s manger

Where the Child is in no danger


Twines of light as if to show

Where pine and spruce and cedar grow

With fragrant needles, scented bark

That lead the pilgrims of the dark


Strings of light that overtake

Nightfall that November makes

So that the garlands show by night

That darkness does not conquer light



The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov / Last modified December 4, 2016/
Poems copyright 1994-2016 Pavel Chichikov/  
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