The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov


NEW! Check out Pavel's photos at Pavel's Camera. We update the page almost every day. New this week are images from the Collins Foundation "Wings of Freedom" exhibit of World War II planes at the Altoona Airport.

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.




Painted Turtle 

Photo by Pavel Chichikov





I saw you looking at me

Alien from elsewhere

Creature of the air


Where the wind is drying

The air conducts a chill -

Do you mean me ill?


Can you see my body

Do you see my beak?

What is it you seek?


Now I will depart

And paddle through the pads

Of lilies and be glad


Stranger you are strange

But you are in your place

And I have seen your face







Gravid Crayfish

Photo by Pavel Chichikov






The female crayfish lost and gravid

Crawls along a country road

Puzzled when she finds a yellow leaf


She curls her tail around her eggs

Investigates the leaf, but where

Can be the water where the creature lays?


A stranger lost in a foreign land

What is this leaf, where can she go?

The code in her cells can tell her naught


Except to seek the edge of home

But the man who finds her picks her up

Behind the head and tosses her to safety


He might have used her for his bait

But she is gravid with her young

And so he saves her from destruction


As the human filled with spirit

Lost in a dry and alien world

Is saved by a hand and tossed to heaven






B-17 over the County Seat

Photo by Pavel Chichikov





A codger now, he was nineteen

Flight engineer on a B-17

Life-expectancy depended

On whether the Asian war had ended

Before they flew above Japan

Now he’s a ninety-year-old man


The other evening over us

Our people heard the ominous

A heavy bomber overhead

That filled civilian souls with dread

An antique warplane from a show

Drawn against the twilit glow


They wondered what the sound might be

That charged them with anxiety

Thunder coming from the sky

Conveys that those beneath might die—

But I have heard how warheads sound,

Sub-orbital, above the ground


A ripping, tearing through the air

No time beneath it to prepare

A splitting through the atmosphere

A moment of heart-crushing fear—

You will not know the throbbing of

Great engines thundering above







Near the epicenter

A black horse made of powder

Compressed by hellish power


How could it be, and why?

Upright, neck awry   

Beneath a birdless sky


All the people dead

This animal instead

As if exhibited


As if in mockery

The valley Urakami

The city Nagasaki


A statue that should be

Shown for all to see

In every target city


In cities be it shown

In flesh and not in stone

Repent, repay, atone






USS Simon Bolivar, 1991

Courtesy  NavSource





“Those nukes will never launch,” he said

But the skipper of the Bolivar said:

“Gentlemen, you’ll be happy to know

Despite the target switch we still have Moscow.”


Two hundred fathoms undersea

A pinhole lets such potent pressure

The strong thin stream drills like a diamond—

The hull’s integrity must be maintained


Peace is a stationed nuclear sub

Cruising the sea in utter darkness

But war is the pinhole, lets death in

For all of us, for you and me


Hear the civilian optimist

But the skipper is a professional

A gentleman, an officer

And he will do what he must do


How thin the hull not understood

How dark the sea and unforeseen

The pressures of the deepest depths

In the deepest trench of Armageddon





Once she’d always turn the volume up

As high as it would go when she was driving

But now that she has lost her driver’s license

She pedals on her bicycle to work

Wiping, mopping at a custard stand

From after midnight until summer dawn


Made the volume loud to press the emptiness

That filled the inside of her mind in corners

Mixed with fumes of heroin and methadone

Bewildered as she was inside the desert

Of sly foreboding and of sharp remorse

So now in moonlight on the unlit road

The music no one else can hear is playing


Loud enough to drive the demons far

And then they take their refuge in her bones






Cattails at Canoe Creek

Photo by Pavel Chichikov





With morning sun ahead

God’s blessing on His paradise

Gold city, green heaven

Those sunburnt faces


Cattails bend and lash

Their narrow standing

Where blackbirds flash

Their silent lightning


Souls remember

As do the rovers

Who cross whole seas

Not seen before



The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov / Last modified August 28, 2016/
Poems copyright 1994-2016 Pavel Chichikov/  
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