When the Sufi poet whirled, was he looking
outward, to the mountains so solidly there
in a white-capped ring, or was he looking
to the center of everything: the seed, the egg, the idea . . .
—from “Why I Wake Early” by Mary Oliver
Bedřich Smetana created one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard, “Die Moldau.” I’d like to think that in a former life I was the melancholy brunette in this painting, enraptured by his talents, in love with his song.