The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov


NEW! Check out Pavel's new photos at Pavel's Camera. We update the page almost every day. See the latest in Backyard Birds (and Squirrels).

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.




House Finch

Photo by Pavel Chichikov





Their bodies are small and when the rain comes

It seeps to the skin where it freezes and numbs,

The finches fluff out their feathery down

Shake out the droplets, their parasites drown


But in the stiff visage the staring of eyes,

A livened expression to us a surprise,

Muscles emplaced in their faces are rigid

But fire is roused when the being is frigid


Is there a consciousness in such a creature

That feels and resents and has it a nature

No different from ours in a knowing respect—

Sharp self-reflection though no intellect?


Look at the eyes of the finch in distress—

Is there awareness of unhappiness?






She told me this about her father’s death:

A crowd appeared that only she perceived

Inside the room where mostly nurses went   

And visitors like her who came to grieve


A gathering within, a multitude

Until the power of their presence filled

The walls beyond the possible yet so,

And all the clamor of a death was stilled


There will be many with him when he dies

She told the comforters and they agreed

But could not sense the ones that she could sense,

The shining ones who minister at need


To all the dying, seeing every breath

Until the great rejoining which is death






On the fifteenth of May the call of the crow,

Ripples of wind through the rows of the green,

Spring is aborted in flurries of snow,

The air is dehydrated, frigid and keen


A phase transition which nobody looked for

The sun having mounted the Tropic of Cancer,

Darkness perceived through a half-opened door    ,

Mistrust of the shadows without any answer


Then through the summer no week without frost

North of the lakes in the hollows it lies,

Grain on the prairie is stunted and lost,

In their failure to thrive the wild fowl die


The sun is less luminous, suddenly weak,

No one can say when the warmth will return,

After all we were fragile, stability’s freak,

We look up at the sun and say: Burn, damn you, burn


Transition begins on the fifteenth of May

The sun in decline in its cycle of brightness,

Those who remember their offices pray

Those who do not have no means of contriteness






Pieter Schoubroeck, (c. 1570–1607), “The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah”

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons





A crisis yet to come but come it must

O blessed sun O precious sun

Warm these shriveled hearts, this dust


The Master said: be gone and multiply

But when we heard and did so

The world of green and grace began to die   


A forced obedience when we recall

The shadows of the groves of peace

Before the penance of our late downfall


But what to end, to break this evil spell?

The crushing of all human pride—

Give back the innocence of us before we fell


The way is lost to that, who can return?

The flood of seas must quench the flames

But first the cities of the plain must burn




Chicken poster


Courtesy Reddit





I hate to tell you this

But as we drove through Turkey Valley

We saw a flock of ranging chickens

All let loose by the side of the highway


The hens were flocked on the side of the road

But the rooster stood in the left-hand lane

And the fields stretched far on either side

With the scarps of the Alleghenies watching


We passed the rooster and his flock

But coming towards them was a car

Behind the lift and curve of the road

Blind to the bird with a moment’s warning


I hate to tell you this

But we are the bird in the other lane

As history’s unobserved surprise

Comes over the top of a curving hill


With our jiggling wattle, silly comb

With a sharp bright eye for a grubby prize

Scratching the unrewarding asphalt

And as we lean and peck, surprise






Backyard Spruce

Photo by Pavel Chichikov





These interlopers come and go

A backyard shed, a plot to grow

Domesticated garden greens

But underneath my roots have seen


The wrenching of the frost and thaw

The wild before the tame I saw

And when they cleared the trees for grass

I saw it all and this shall pass


But nothing more shall build or graze

Before the ending of these days

No dairy cattle, nibbling horse

No forage for them, dry and coarse


We the spruce, the oak the pine

The creatures of the old design

Will come once more if we have seed

If there is rain we still can breed


Will cover all these elder hills

If you are gone by good God’s will

For yes we know Him and have known

What in these valleys He has grown







Waxing Gibbous Moon

Photo by Pavel Chichikov





An eagle sees the craters on the moon

But does not hunt the moon and so it may

Not see the silver moving shape as prey


Those who never look for God will not

Perceive the living God by day or find

The evidence imprinted in the mind


But sometimes in the night before they sleep

Or in a dream or sometimes when they wake

A shadow moves recalled as a mistake


A presence neither of the light nor dark

Perceptual and yet peripheral

Unusual, not feverish or ill


Above the eagle slides the silver one

Irrelevant and yet it comprehends

It travels through an arc and then descends


Descends beneath the west and then returns

Dwindles in a darkness then it grows,

Untouchable and shining, that it knows






It starts to look the way it looked before

In history, a mustering for war,

Powers have assembled and they wait

To carry out the violence of the state


What will be the trigger, accident

That no one can foresee and never meant?

The gathering of dread opposing fleets

That never learned a doctrine of retreat


High performance aircraft standing by

Designed to sting their quarry or to die,

Wasps that never hatched, that have no legs

With Armageddon-fires in their eggs


And when they lay what offspring may there be

To split the shells around them and break free?



The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov / Last modified May 22, 2016/
Poems copyright 1994-2016 Pavel Chichikov/  

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