The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov


DID YOU KNOW?---We update this site frequently---usually, every Saturday. Check back to see Pavel's new poems and classics from the archives. 

You can view Pavel's photos at Pavel's Camera. Recently added: Winterfest 2017, with scenes from our town's Christmas parade and street festival.

Pavel's latest collection of poems, So Tell Us, Christ, is 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.

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. Also by Pavel are From Here to Babylon; 
Lion Sun: Poems by Pavel Chichikov, published by Grey Owl Press; and 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.


 Two Poems for AdventMore Next Week



Hugo van der Goes (c. 1440–82), Portinari Altarpiece, detail, “Journey to Bethelehem”

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons





Joseph, please be careful sir

Herod is a jealous cur,

His kennel is a lavish palace

He’s Caesar’s dog, and envious


Please get ready for your journey

Pregnant Mary on the donkey—

Joseph is a carpenter

A foreman and a contractor


In her womb is God’s own Son

How can it be since God is one?

He is the wish that God expressed

To be milk-fed at Mary’s breast


How can it be He can be fed

On human milk then wheaten bread—

How to cry and laugh and sleep?

Joseph, safely Jesus keep


The ridge-top road to Bethlehem

Is cold and rough, be kind to them,

Wrap them both in warm sheep’s wool—

Alas for us, the inn is full


Then find a space inside the stable

A donkey’s manger for a table—

Child of glory, Child of woe

A Man to hear the third cock crow





Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859–1937), “The Annunciation”

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons





Along the way that led to Bethlehem

The western sky took fire with a foil

At sunset on the ridge line of the way

As golden as the work of Bezalel


Who overlaid the Ark with grandest gold

As bright as these unsullied wraiths of wonder

Lasting only moments in the dusk,

Reminding Mary of another splendor


The messenger who seemed at first a man

Who begged of her a most astounding favor

But as he spoke became a golden column

A gracious voice, a miracle of grandeur


These clouds reminded her of Gabriel

But of this light no human words can tell






I saw there was a pond of ice—

He said to me: Take this device,

A wooden handle and a spade,

Skim the cover with that blade


I slid the blade beneath the lid

Of ice and lifted so it slid

Away in pieces large and little,

Some were thick and some were brittle


Of all the work this your part

Skim and clear the frozen heart—

Many others you may clear

Frozen with the frost of fear


Even though a thaw may come

Still the spirit can be numb—

Choose a city of the frost

Where live the spirits of the lost







Snow Goose

Courtesy Goose Hunting





“In a certain sense

Nature is God”

Said the monk-heretic


Why not worship a snow goose,

Praise the goose instead of God?

Who knows the answer?


The hunter knows

Who rests his double paddle

Drifting on the black water


No one can hunt God

But God hunts the hunter

Until the hunter finds Him






Card Sharp

Photo by Pavel Chichikov





Watch the man—he’s got the money card -

Focus on the deck, he shuffles hard,

Queen of Hearts is often the preferred,

How quick it riffles by, the deck is blurred


Bet that you can find your heart’s desire,

Dexterity, the shuffle is on fire,

Pigeons never win a single hand

The cards are always under his command


Even if you bet a thousand days

And on each day you bet a thousand plays,

You’d never find the Queen, she’s fifty-two

The other fifty-one are meant for you


The chiseler is older than you think

And he can shuffle faster than you blink





Landscape with a Cross; Oil Painitngs Wholesale





I saw on that high dreadful hill

Where heaven-life was earned

The Devil drive the iron in

He said: Now take your turn


Handed me the implement

Which with to pound the nail,

Asked what I was waiting for

Strike and do not fail


I gripped the hammer in my hand

The flesh of Christ beneath

And felt the force of his command –

He bared his gleaming teeth


I threw it down, the hammer broke

He caught on fire, then was smoke






(December 12 is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.) 


Our Lady of Guadalupe





Lady, the good ones were on their knees

They know you and adore you

Those with bones not steel who bend

Came forward


I saw you with a shopping cart

Wire and small wheels

Your clothing in the square pink bag

You kept your Baby’s diapers in


You wore a surplus wind-proof jacket

Deck shoes, and a billed blue hat

You wondered why the tilma was so small

When Juan Diego’s covered to his knees


It covered him, and when the roses spilled

They saw your image there, and it was you

Beautiful Azteca woman

Not so worn out then


Your Son has risen from the tomb,

But since that day you’ve slept on many sidewalks—

You come down from the hill of roses

Live poorly in the house of summer


The crèche He slept in has been folded up,

Such is your gentle lovingness,

In a little plastic carry-all—

Lady, good ones know it


The simple see you, magnificent your softness

Your summoned mercy, quick to answer anguish

For they can bend and have no pride

No keys but one


And with this key, one key

They open every door that leads to Him—

You might walk through, but though you wear a crown

You wait until the last have entered


The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov / Last modified December 10, 2017/
Poems copyright 1994-2017, Pavel Chichikov/  
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