The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov


NEWS! Watch for an announcement about Pavel's new photo site, currently under construction. 

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 has released a description of its Pavel Chichikov Poetry Collection of printed, digital, and recorded materials.

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, or write to Read the review of Lion Sun on Scribble on the Net, an electronic journal of New Zealand and international poetry.

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.


Green Children

Photo by Pavel Chichikov





Once we were a single nation

Beasts and men who gave each other

Sustenance without division

Though never quite as peer or brother


Now no sharing masks and faces,

Hunters kill without remorse,

Wolf-less, culling altered races

Admiration mixed with force


Long ago he woke and saw

Five dead whitetails in the kitchen,

Four of them against the law

But beef cost more than venison




Cemetery Visit

Photo by Pavel Chichikov





A woman and her daughter give these blooms

To bless the tombstone of the loved deceased,

A shroud of evening shadows as the priest


Ivory clouds of autumn lift the coffin,

God the preacher speaks such homilies

With hillside grasses and those straight pine trees


Everything, the living and the dead

Resurrected in the signs of hope,

The peace of stars above this moonlit slope


How can I convey this language to

The mute and hopeless generation of

An age of anguish and forgotten love






Who kneels with me when Christ is raised above

As wine and wheat become the flowing blood

And flesh, no one or spirits whom I love?


May I kneel together with the dead

In life and by receiving when I kneel

Partake of that on which the soul is fed?


Yes and that much more because the ring

Of all the living and the dead surround

The Sacrificed and to the table bring


Their hymns of adoration never ceased

Everywhere, in every time and tongue

The living and the dead and all the priests


When in one place particular the Host is shown,

The world above the world and all beneath

Adore together and are not alone






Up Staircase

Photo by Pavel Chichiko





Below the when and where of birth

On the left the tree of light,

Above the darkness of the Earth

Baffled columns on the right


Up and up to climb but see

No destination overhead,

Mounting is to bend the knee

And leave below the buried dead


Will we ever see the sky

Attain the roof and then release,

Or is the staircase endless high

Flight on flight to never cease?







They stole from you, they took by stealth

By subterfuge, by guile, your wealth

When you were young and just awakened,

Tossed away as stone, forsaken


But I have seen it dirty, lost

Where One redeems it at great cost,

A diamond on a rubbish heap

Where saints and martyrs never sleep


They keep and guard with burning swords

The gemstones which may not be scored,

Their weapons are their litanies

And what they guard may not be seized


By light of day they will be found

Returned undamaged, bright and sound

The spirits of the atheists,

Which had been lost but never missed






Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

Photo by Pavel Chichikov





Keep your cell, said Prior, all you need is there

But we were bored and restless and that was our affair,

We poured out through the gateway to find a tempting weed

With black and purple berries on which we monks could feed


We picked the stem and flower, the black and purple fruit

The part that seemed a tuber but was a fibrous root,

Then most of us were deathly and soon could not respire

Who wished that we were back again in chapel and in choir


When we looked around us the priory had vanished,

Although they had been poisoned the sick ones still were famished,

They could not stop their feeding although it was their death,

Some of us were sore at heart and could not catch our breath


We wished we had our meals again, our pulses and our gruel

But who had pressed us to rebel and taken us for fools?

One accused the other and each began to tell

How he had urged his brothers to stay inside their cells


A demon sat beside us and laughed till he turned black,

I’ll give you fools an antidote if you confirm a pact,

Serve me for a century and I will cure you all,

The world will be your narrow cell, the sky will be a wall


My thoughts will be your priory and I will be the prior,

Eat in my refectory, the dishes will be fire,

Some of us agreed to this but some would not accede:

Whose diet was the Bread of Life should not on fire feed


Although the sky surrounds us as if it were a prison

And narrow is the passageway that leads the soul to heaven

We will not feed on fire in your refectory,

And soon the priory was there as some of us could see






Lucas van Leyden (1494–1533), “The Temptation of St. Anthony”

Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons





The demons nagged and whined and pinched his skin

A man like you is wasted in a wasteland,

So capable, enduring and so clever

A fool, a freak, an emperor of sand


Constantine admires you we know

He sends you greetings, answer with a letter,

Consider leaving this outrageous cave

So that the emperor can know you better


Favor him with wisdom and advice,

Your holiness will be for his improvement,

Responsibilities will make you great

An anchoritic life is an entombment


Weaving mats of palm leaves is for dolts,

He’ll give you gifts and then you’ll get a summons,

Don’t be shy, your talents should be used,

Enrich the world, be famous, said the demons


We’d offer you a concubine or two

But that would be pathetic, we can see,

The Emperor will treasure your opinions,

Your hopes for him, your pure humility



(October 4 is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.)



Habit of St. Francis of Assisi

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons





Not him but his pathetic robe

The true flag of Assisi

Laundered and preserved, but not filled up


Inside the empty socket of Subasio

The pines, the wrens, the sliding sun

The yellow curving wall of Francis’ cell


But not the fragile bones and skull

The melting muscle and the insubstantial blood—

The imitative whistle lives


Or did you know he whistled with the birds?

He sang with them, and they with him

Some echoes now to last forever


In this dying world there is a wave

Attenuated yet alive

And his was strong and rises still


It was not sound, for that requires air

It was the wordless run and trill of prayer



The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov / Last modified October 4, 2015/
Poems copyright 1994-2015 Pavel Chichikov/  

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