Sunday, July 5, 2009


By Pavel Chichikov

They played gin rummy in a yellow room
While snow built up the fire escape—
Cold canvas of it, stuffings of it
Soft and lofting piles of it

On the wall the steel-hulled Pruessen sailed
White sails on prussian blue
And a white clock turned black hands
Within a wheel of arms

All four were there—two sisters and two husbands
Though three are dead and one is very old
And the room and the snow
Are in my mind

The duvet, the feather comforter of snow
The bars of the iron stage outside rimmed up and down
With freshly fallen heaven feathers
The cold street with planes of pavement rising

Did they think: the cold year passes, I shall die?
The cards were rosy, slick and thin
Stiff and square—they slapped them down—
How young the old and dead can be

Night the window covered black and red
Shrunk and filled with spinning wheels of snow
Round lacy hexagons
Dissolving sharp and cutting on the tongue

How can I remember, hold, the dead ones here?
Capacious memory, round theater in a sack
I see them play—how lovely that they lived
And lovely too the ship, a white-winged sea bird

For one of them had sailed the south for coal
Aboard the last great ship of trade
To use the wind across the sails as wings—
Then let another wind, great bird, be with him now

By Pavel Chichikov

Dim woodland of the summer evening when
High foliage and deep conceals the sun,
So that a dream-like dusk invades the wood
Where earlier thick columns burned and stood

Who’s running down the path behind
Where humid dusk begins to mount and form?
A leaping-forward metaphor of storm?
Not yet, the sky is clear and still defined

Now the gentle deer unfearfully
Step and move aside to bend and browse
Where aisles of sapling beech and oak allow,
As animals of Eden to befriend me

As if from some unwalled protected cell
They let pass through a son of the expelled

The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov

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