The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov


NEW! Check out Pavel's photos at Pavel's Camera. We update the page almost every day. Check out the scene at our local frozen custard stand, under Near Us!

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.



Walter Alois Weber (1906–79), “Each Otter Takes His Turn”

From Karl Patterson Schmidt, Homes and Habitats of Wild Animals

Courtesy Ursus Books & Prints 





In the preface said at the altar of God

He praises the honors of charity

But I hear: “the otters of charity”


So let it be then those whiskery ones

Who by their supple vitality

Infuse the world with charity


Blessed are they beholding them

Lifted in grace by their jollity

Those playful otters of charity


Here are My clowns, beloved souls,

Says the Creator, impish they,

Remember to smile with Me while you pray





Eastern Mole (Scalopus aquaticus)

Courtesy Rottler





That was a shrew—or was it a mole

That skittered so hastily into the hole

Under the stump beside the old fence,

Fugitive animals, fearful and tense


Doves in the garden, spirits of love

Batter each other with wings as they shove,

One flutters off at the end of the fight,

No twig in its mouth, a subservient flight


Black was the mole, or was it the shrew

Evolved from the ages, evermore new—

Pluck the guitar or paint on the easel

With the gut of the lamb and the hair of the weasel


How does compassion emerge from the eye

Of the wolf and the weasel—say to me why






The Princess Mombi with one of her heads

From Return to Oz (1985)





The bad witch Mombi in L. Frank Baum’s

Land of Oz had many heads

One for each of her many moods


She could have been a politician

Of modern American character

One reflects on particulars


She kept the heads in many niches

But she was a witch in a fantasy

Not what we called the Home of the Free


Multiple heads being primitive

Why not a head of many genders

Each its own style of pretender?


Perhaps Frank Baum was a futurist

Or maybe was precognitive

About our compound transitives


Is there a man or woman yet

Who has a solitary face

And not a head one can replace?





This is what I saw when very young

A tunnel, underneath the earth, of stone

On either side were cells with heavy figures

Dressed in cumbersome embroidered robes


Upright of royal stature, royal bearing

But stiffened by resentment and by fury

Cold with silent jealousy and sterile

Maddened by confinement, immobility


As I passed by the monsters tried to touch me

Their fingers like the reach of putrefaction

Which I avoided just by very little

But where the tunnel led I did not know


Now I think I understand the purpose

Of that deep darkness where those spirits go

They, within their cells, may not move elsewhere

Only toward the passage, then return


Return within the niches of their waiting

Where in their fixity these heavy figures

Watch and wait for any kind of life

Which they can touch, so then receive some motion






The slide, the swings, the pool are there

The children gone, have not been seen,

Plastic bikes and pedal cars

Scattered through an empty green


The pool in which they swam is drained

The dogs surrendered to the shelter,

Their lifestyle could not be sustained,

Drugs became their mother’s fever


She the other day observed

Seated on the street-side stairs,

The newest infant on her lap,

All the others gone somewhere


Wordless sitting in the sun

The baby propped up on her knees,

Gone from seven down to one,

Her self-defeating tragedy


Love is seated on her lap

And what remains to her she holds,

How unspring the self-set trap,

How get back the gifts she sold?






As she moves away from the curb

Her four year old desperately follows along

It is her slow-moving disturbing departure


Get back, she says to the child, stay here

But he almost presses himself to the car

In a mixture of rank despair and fear


She is an addict of heroin

And also the drugs that make her move

Inside her obdurate junkie’s skin


He will remember this all his days

That bodily presence can also be absence

And love can leave in many ways


For he knows that she will self-destroy

That his silent pleading is in vain

No matter her words or the gifts of toys






After the crisis is ended

One feels an emptiness,

The foul neighbor has moved on

To a new unknown address


Though she resumed her addictions

Nor curbed offensive speech

There is a need somehow for tension

Anger each to each


We live for clamor always

Unsatisfied with silence,

With harmony of all our days,

There must be some with violence


The felony of jealous Cain

Compelling ennui,

The single question that remains:   

Why him and why not me?



The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov / Last modified July 24, 2016/
Poems copyright 1994-2016 Pavel Chichikov/  

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