Sunday, June 9, 2013


By Pavel Chichikov

Encampment of the atheists
A well-known slum and shambles
Outside the gates of Paradise

Hovels made of black-tarred paper
Smokey fires fed with rubber
And old electric wire

Those who camp there dress like hoboes
Huddle near the bilious fires
Draped in sacking and old clothes

On the mountain overhead
A sound of lutes and joyful singing
Flights of dancers moving, angel-led

Some abandon camp and climb
But others will not leave for now
Who think they live in passing time

Who think that they are still alive
And huddle near the smoky flames
Afraid to move until the world arrives

What is the music that we hear?
Ask the few courageous dead
But others claim there is none, out of fear

There are many who complain
About the peace-disturbing noise
                        But while they camp here heaven will remain 

By Pavel Chichikov

Missouri spring, I-70
Near the town of Mexico,
Lurid sunlight on the highway
Above the fields rise two black clouds

Great dignities, the crowns of ogres
Speak through channels in the air,
Articulate by thunderbolt
Words of ions modulate

While from the local radio
Warnings of impending twisters,
Cars go forward towards the west
Complacently through streams of sunlight

Back and forth the dialogue
Between the pregnant ogre clouds,
But nothing like a funnel falls
Across the waiting helpless fields

So are we now awaiting storms
That spit their lightning overhead
But never seem to burst and spin
But rise and dissipate instead

Scatter, but the storms return,
Perhaps someday they will touch down
To blow the world to kingdom come,
                        Twisting funnels going round

The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov

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