Sometimes on days when the light is perfect and exact,
When things are real as they can possibly can be,
I ask myself slowly
Why I ever attribute
Beauty to things.
Is a flower beautiful?
Is a fruit perhaps beautiful?
No: they merely have color and form
Beauty is the name given to something that does not exist
The name I give to things in exchange for the pleasure they give me.
It means nothing.
So why do I say of things: “They’re beautiful”?
Yes, even I, who live only to live,
Even I am not immune to the invisible lies men say
Of things that simply exist.
How hard it is to have eyes and to see only the visible?
by Fernando Pessoa
from The Complete Works of Alberto Caeiro
New Directions Books, 2020