Poem: “Before the Forests Burn”

Before the Forests Burn

What happened to the animals after the eviction
When man and woman, flesh and clay, were driven out from Eden,
Would within, invisible, the beasts of Paradise
Wander with a sense of vague and puzzled emptiness?

Although the winds of evening cooled them in the shade
Would they have sensed a hollowness in life and been afraid,
Uneasiness and restlessness have set the herds on edge?
How ignorant the pair of them to violate their pledge

Now whenever here and there I climb a damaged hill
The elder beech with knuckles clenched held on by strength of will,
Though every year’s erosion sweep out the soil beneath,
Hungry winter snap the limbs with blizzard-sharpened teeth

I think they have waiting with a sense that no one knows
Who has not been in Paradise and felt what Adam chose,
That all the living flesh of it awaiting our return
Desires Adam back again before the forests burn

And if the forests burned again as did the angel’s brand
Who stood before the gates of Love with fire in his hand,
The love that does not perish would cause the winds to blow
And bring the sanctifying rain again to Earth below

April 15, 2011

Pavel Chichikov is a Washington DC-based poet and photographer. He has written for both the secular and the Catholic press on issues as diverse as Russian nuclear weapons systems, Olympic athletes, and miracles. His books include From Here to Babylon: Poems by Pavel Chichikov,  Lion Sun: Poems by Pavel Chichikov, Mysteries and Stations in the Manner of Ignatius, and Animal Kingdom. Pavel may be heard reading his works on catholicradiointernational.com and on pavelreads.com. His poetry regularly appears on "The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov."