Posted by: Peadar Ban | September 4, 2012

ANIMAL KINGDOM, by Pavel Chichikov

What thoughts do you think during a walk into the woods, a stroll along the beach in the morning or in the evening?  What is happening in you on that rainy  afternoon when you just have to step outside for a huddled turn around the block beneath your ‘brella, or wrapped snug into your best Sou’wester?  When you sit some quiet eve indoors or out and simply watch trees wave at clouds, hide nervous birds when a hawk circles slowly by or silently fade from gold, to green, to black in deep’ning night, what thoughts rise?  Do you marvel at it all?  Do you soak in what there is, and sometimes wonder how it was or why it is this way, when it was another and how will it be, how will it be at last?

I hold in my hands just now a small book:  Animal Kingdom.  Between its slim covers are eighty-eight poems by Pavel Chichikov.  Slender though this volume is, for me to call it a small book may be a big  mistake!  On its cover the face of an eagle in flight over a mountain framed by the rays of the setting sun, this mere slip of a book sits silent on the desk in front of me giving no more evidence than the simple look of that majestic picture to hint at what will unfold, inside, if you will sit and think and let it open out.  Within the cover of “Animal Kingdom” spreads out a whole world, and we are the sharp sighted eagle above the mountain top, glimpsing from above the setting sun.  Pictures and places within pictures and places beyond words with each page turned, each little path chosen down which to walk.  In these poems even the little things, a leaf, a beetle, a tick held in a hand become mirrors, messengers, doors opening wide onto truth throughout and beneath everything and all time.

Some call the realization or appreciation of the mighty in the small and vice versa, the understanding that there “are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy,” a unitive experience:  coming to know the existence of the “Spirit that moves over the face of the deep”, the ancient truth that holds all of creation together and helps us to make sense of it, experiencing an incessant Epiphany of the Divine in the midst of the most ordinary moments and minute things.  Pavel Chichikov is that rare artist whose careful work in words fully achieves the purpose for which all was made:  to show forth the “grandeur of God.”

Pick a poem in Animal Kingdom, read it, silently or aloud, and allow yourself that walk in wonder we all, and often, so dearly need to take.  We have the book waiting for you here at The Christian Book Corner —  for you, or for the person you would like to send out with it on a lovely walk some fine afternoon.


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