love poems & stories ukraine

Touched Hearts

Just got on a plane from Chernivtsi to Kiev as I am starting my return to the states, and I find that a woman that I met in Chervnitsi has woven a very sweet and tender silk around my heart.

The first time I was in Chernivtsi, maybe a month ago now, I met a woman and we shared some tea and a little snack together. I had hoped she’d be able to be my translator for my first trip to Khotyn, but she was already assisting a group of Israeli’s on a similar mission of researching their ancestry here. I honestly didn’t return here because of her, but when I decided to return to go back once more to Khotyn, she was willing to join me to help. While there we began a romantic relationship and have spent most of the past 8 days together. The reason for me, I think, although it’s always a much more complex equation than we can know, is that there is a liberation and a lightness to her spirit which I find very refreshing, very encouraging, very, simply put, attractive. There also seems to be a genuine goodness to her nature and heart. And so we’ve spent this all too limited time together, welcoming with open arms the bounties of being alive.

Last night, my dear friend Jill forwarded a poem to me which mentions being a “Bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.” I sooooo feel that way in my life, truly open to the miracles and mysteries. The name of the poem, by Mary Oliver, is When Death Comes, and below are the final lines…

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.


A strange thing happened today. I had packed my things for departure and gathered up a few items for her, including an issue I’ve been traveling with of The Sun magazine, a somewhat obscure monthly creative journal which I’ve been subscribing to for a good 10+ years, which about 4 years ago had published a photograph of mine. She saw the magazine and turned down the gift because she reads it on-line. She says the two publications she reads on-line are The NY Times and The Sun. The strange coincidence part comes in when she tells me that one time she was using The Sun as part of the class she was teaching to her English students and she remembered my name from the Contributors section on the inside cover from when The Sun had published one of my photographs.. She had been thinking that my name sounded familiar to her, and now upon seeing The Sun magazine, she remembered where from.

I could move now in this post in the direction of exploring the reasons for the ease with which relationships open up while traveling. I do think that that would be a good topic to explore, but at the moment I don’t want to diverge too far from the truth of what is happening in this moment, and that is that my heart is happy and warmed to have been touched in such a sweet way.

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