Poem: “Before the Last Day”

Before the Last Day

Along the creek side
Where the trail descends, before the riffles
Seethe among the great round stones
Gray knucklebones
A brown Arabian
Glowing in the sunlight
Fifteen hands high

The rider stops then slowly nears
As one who steps up to a stranger
Imparting confidential messages –
It is the morning of every day
Before the last day

Requests a stroking of the dark and velvet nostrils
Admiration of the sculpted head
Which human masterwork had never made
Jeweler’s cabochon of eye
No jeweler’s chisel ever cut
The tail and neck combed jet, obsidian

And as the horse is stroked
It breathes and looks
Communion speechless
Pure and plentiful
With sunlight joy
Glance both shy and generous

They canter on to reach the shallow ford
To cross,
The rising and the falling of the hooves
Lifts up two silver wings of water,
Two wings that spread and spread against the shallows
Falling in a wordless benediction

Then they reach the shore and mount the rise
Reins relaxed and slackened
Strong neck, the soft and velvet mouth
Inclining towards the grass it crops –
The rider sits and watches
From across the stream
Having made the sign

April 26, 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."