Ukraina is a western transliteration of how the name sounds in its own tongue (oo'-krah-ee'-nuh.) In English it means, "Borderland," and rightfully so, for it lies across the borders of continents. The largest country in Europe, Ukraina blends into Asia as it stretches eastward. One end is west of Athens, the other end is east of Moscow, and the great Dnipro River divides the land nearly in two. West of the Dnipro, the land and people look to Europe. East of that river, Ukraina looks to Russia, the Caspian Sea, and the vast stretches of Asia beyond. When one sets out upon the adventure of writing poetry about Ukraina, three great themes are quickly discovered: the struggle for freedom, the agony of war, and the celebration of the land and her people. While this volume has elements of all three themes, its focus is upon the last. The political reality that is Ukraina has shifted and changed over the centuries. But the land and the people remain always the same. Traveling south on the Dnipro, from Kyiv to the Black Sea, is to pass through the deep heart of the land and people. Ancient marshes, quiet farmland, and bustling cities line the banks. Only a day's journey separates the wooded hill of Shevchenko's tomb above Kaniv from the belching smokestacks of Dnipro-petrovsk; the Mediterranean atmosphere of modern Odessa from the turbulent past of the Crimea. This volume is a record in verse of that journey, that land, that people. We hope you will enjoy these Songs of a Beloved Land.