The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov


NEW! See Pavel's photos at Pavel's Camera. Check out the hawk on Domestic and Wild.

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.





Jan van Kessel the Elder (1626–79), “Still Life with Fish and Marine Creatures in a Coastal Landscape”

Städel, Frankfurt am Main

Courtesy Wikipedia Commons





For the moment the tide has receded,

Observe what the sea has washed in,

Creatures that swam there unheeded

With leaden or glistening skin


Disposed on the jagged blue shingle,

The breaker-deposited stone,

The dead and the living still mingled,   

The eye and the scale and the bone


These are the feelings and wishes

That few of us ever declare

Which nibble on motives like fishes

Now stranded and gulping for air


Soon the great surge will be coming

To carry away the disclosed,

The great revelation is ending

The sea’s deposition deposed


Now we stare out at the ocean

That blinks an emotionless eye

Like a bland and intelligent demon

Which only looks up at the sky






Nikolai Andreevich Lakov (1894–1970), “A Street at Night, Tramcar”

Courtesy ArtStack





In a dream, prophetic dream

She saw me walking through the streets

Of some strange city yet to come

Where past and future were to meet


It was in Moscow yet to be

Unspecified, unknown to her,

It was as if the dreamer dreamt

A vision through a camera


What then of a future scene

What city street or country road

Will someone dream of and report

Though dreams are often set in code


Through those ochre Russian streets

So it was, I walked alone,

Searched transparent summer dusk,

Our destiny is not our own


Now I know that time is not

A pinpoint on a narrow line

But four dimensions all at one,

The sketching of a great design


All at once the code is dropped

The message given in the clear,

An urgent lesson must be learned—

The blind must see, the deaf must hear




 US Capitol, courtesy NPR





The dome of the Capitol

Seen from the Mall,   

There a great multitude

Gathered in solitude


None are civilians

There is no dissension,

An army in ranks

Infantry, tanks


Time is contracted

Armageddon protracted

Silence expectant

But a leader reluctant


Then he appears

Full-throated cheers,

A brace and a roar,

They are ready for war


He raises his hand

He is in command

But what will it be

And which enemy?


External, internal?

He turns to a colonel

And in a low voice

Discloses his choice






The infant and the senile

Convergent in one man

Collected in one woman

Seven times a billion


On a loose rope now

Swaying to the left

Swaying to the right

At such tremendous height


And yet we sense no rope

But think we walk on air

Descend, ascend a stair

Look downward those who dare





Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828), “Que se rompe la cuerda”

Plate 77 in The Disasters of War

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons




        Homage to Francisco Goya y Lucientes


May the cord break! May the cord break!

May the foolish cord, the stupid, stubborn cord

The cord above the crowd, naïve, transfixed—

And may the gymnast balancing

That arm-extending mountebank, that fraud

That death-defying  tight-rope walker

Feel the sting of stubborn fibers snap

The rush of air, the flaring of his cape

And see their faces rushing toward him

See their horrified expressions swell,

And then he’ll crush as many as he can

Beneath his silken weight, those instruments

Who think that mortal power is salvation

Who think that God adores the powerful,

The smooth who heel-and-toe upon belief—

That foolish cord, that cable of betrayed desire

May it break, and may it let him fall!


—From Pavel’s website Homage to Goya






 "Falling Leaf"; photo © Bhavya Kaushik

 Courtesy artist and Writers Cafe





A dry leaf rolling like a wheel

Along the street, tobacco brown

With a dry and wizened sound


A sort of mummy like a hand

That once was green, a maple tree

Produced that sugar factory


A sugar maple like a soul

Springing toward an autumn sky

That never knows that it will die


Gives its glory leave to go

While it stays living root to branch

To find the sun with which to dance


Look down, look down and see the youth

That used in summer wind to sway

Turn dry and brown and blow away


The soil is cold, the roots are deep

Somehow from that wooden tree

Comes all the earth’s vitality






The barrier of time can be torn down

So that the failing shadows coalesce

Into substantial temporary forms

Appearing in a time-like wilderness


There a sign, the newborn held before us

In frozen light, in hurried clarity—

A flickering, the moment’s vision gone,

Chronicle the future that you see


Here it is, a newborn Earth refreshed,

The ancient skin of roads and cities gone,

Nothing left of us except a song,

An azure sky to print the lyrics on


A southern wind to celebrate the peace

Of innocence when every war shall cease






Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–82), “Christ Crucified”

Museo del Prado Madrid

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons





Can anything I know bathe clean this soul?

I’ll scrub you with the sand of death, said Christ

But I can cleanse you otherwise, make whole


Take part with Me in this great charity

By joining to the Cross on which I die

Be with me then, do not depart from Me


How can I, Lord, be with you on the Cross?

I see no timber, nails, no crown

No stripes, no deadly sacrifice


It is yourself I wish, and nothing further

To sacrifice and let be on My Cross

Your will, your seeming self, that image in still water


None of you is you but what I see

A naked soul still needing to be named

And clothed in light most fitting for eternity



The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov / Last modified January 22, 2017/
Poems copyright 1994-2017, Pavel Chichikov/  
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