The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov


NEW! Check out Pavel's photos at Pavel's Camera. We update the page frequently. Near Us contains new photos from around town.

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.





Photo by Pavel Chichikov





A cottontail that’s feeding in the garden

Loping some and nibbling on our grass

Or staying still as if in meditation


It’s growing dark, a deep October dusk

A time when cats are prowling in the shadows

Gloom surrounds the garden like a husk


The rabbit curves its spine and nibbles toes

Has fleas and ticks no doubt, wild animal

Tension like the bending of a bow


Those who think of us as merely beasts

Must wonder sometimes if we are like that

Oblivious main courses at the feast


The spirit is an arrow in its flight

The body of the spirit is the bow

That sends the spirit searching through the night






Do you now understand the desert temptation?

Always the dangled worldly messiah

The secular savior, the vain politician


No reign over heaven, a ruler of stone

Christ to become the servant of Moloch

The Devil said: Bow to me, me alone


If we adore a secular ruler

The world will become a desert of stone

A kingdom of powder, a kingdom of terror


The Devil has never created one fire

But only a sterile and cold adulation

His immovable face, his foul empire





“Holy Forefathers”

Courtesy Orthodox Church in America





How very patient we must be

How can we learn in such short lives

Not even in a century


Those legendary patriarchs

The Bible tells us lived so long

Still waiting in the dark


I saw them standing in their robes

Stiff and hieratic ones

Their eyes were burning globes


Unmoving in a corridor

Waiting ages in the dark

Did they know what for?


Yes, I think they know somehow

It maddens them, this time to wait—

They know what God allows


The rest is patience, time and trust

They are the citizens of time

Which means that they are dust


The robes will crumble and their eyes

Will shatter like the glass they are

Before they can be wise






Detail from “Gift for the Grangers” poster, 1873

Library of Congress

Courtesy Google+





Stay away from the cities, that’s my advice

Nor is it essential to be more precise

Those in the country can garden and hunt

As chickens can forage and barrows can grunt


Those who are famished can take squirrels too

Woodchuck and cottontail seethed for a stew,

The trucks will not roll up the highways again

Perhaps in the future but no one knows when


“Woe to the city that’s built out of blood”

Like the old cities submerged in the Flood,

Names are not needed, those cities were traps

Here in the memory, now on the maps


Woe to the country that follows its leader

Into the hurricane, straight to the center,

Peace in the eye but destruction around

Burned by the firestorm, blown to the ground





Rose in October

Photo by Pavel Chichikov





Seven times I saw the rose

Never have I seen the worm

Dressed in shimmering green clothes

Immaculate in uniform


Some can see the worm as still

Or flipping forward frame by frame

Some a specimen they kill

As if the image were a name


Seven times there was a bloom

Through a hole I saw a thorn

But never have I seen the worm

Nonetheless it must be born


Leaves that once were glossy green

Now are fed upon and dry,

Never has the worm been seen

Though the worm must live and die





Woman Weaving

Courtesy North Carolina Persian Festival





Those ancient Persian weavers

Never earned their due,

They wove their Persian gardens

Where nothing ever grew


In this progressive era

This modern century,

Such carpets are chimeras,

A vague miscellany


“Behold,’ he said, unfurling

A roll of trash bag sheets,

“The history of weaving

Now perfect and complete”


He tore away a section

And swept it on the floor,

“A masterly invention

The surface is the core”


“Opulent and singular

Say all the wits and scholars,

Exclusive to a connoisseur

Five hundred thousand dollars”






To keep a gun or not to keep a gun—

Some I know around here carry one,

Have kept at home a shotgun or a rifle

From childhood and they know how to be careful


But still what do they need a hand gun for?

Concealed or open, arm or metaphor,

Symbol of perpetual unease

Or deep within some other cause than these


Think then of the tundra in the spring

When larvae of mosquitos take to wing,

Phantoms in their trillions rising from

The permafrost and who can count the sum


So from the frozen permafrost of souls

A swarm of needles rising from the cold






On a day he walked with me

Unspeaking, my companion

For him a morning streak of light

Was like an earthly mountain


He climbed, descended sunlit slopes

Would not speak and yet

I knew at once this silent one

Thought we were well met


Where is the place that you inhabit

Far away from here?

He shook his head and wordless stepped

Always keeping near


Still while keeping step with me

He signed: From where you are

To where I live and come to you

The distance is not far



The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov / Last modified October 16, 2016/
Poems copyright 1994-2016 Pavel Chichikov/  
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