No More Clichés
By Octavio Paz
(Nobel Laureate, Former Mexican Ambassador to India. and one of the greatest poets of 20th Century)
That like a daisy opens its petals to the sun
So do you
Open your face to me as I turn the page.
Any man would be under your spell,
Oh, beauty of a magazine.
How many poems have been written to you?
How many Dantes have written to you, Beatrice?
To your obsessive illusion
To you manufacture fantasy.
But today I won't make one more Cliché
And write this poem to you.
No, no more clichés.
This poem is dedicated to those women
Whose beauty is in their charm,
In their intelligence,
In their character,
Not on their fabricated looks.
This poem is to you women,
That like a Shahrazade wake up
Everyday with a new story to tell,
A story that sings for change
That hopes for battles:
Battles for the love of the united flesh
Battles for passions aroused by a new day
Battle for the neglected rights
Or just battles to survive one more night.
Yes, to you women in a world of pain
To you, bright star in this ever-spending universe
To you, fighter of a thousand-and-one fights
To you, friend of my heart.
The speaker here (may be a bachelor) makes a contrast between womanly beauty as defined by the images found in magazines (a species of beauty to which Dante and his "successors" [the "many Dantes"] across the centuries have too often alluded and emphasized and the beauty defined by charm, intelligence, and character: not on "fabricated looks"). Beatrice's beauty is a passive beauty to be idealized, gawked at, and, in our own glamorized world, unfortunately emulated.
Shahrazade's beauty is surpassed by her skill as a storyteller—her charm, her intelligence, and her character (all implied through the allusion to Shahrazade as storyteller in Arabian Nights). Women should not be valued as objects of beauty, as is too often promoted in our culture's magazines. Women should be recognized as "fighter of a thousand-and-one fights" (pun referring to Arabian Nights), especially women "who are friend[s] of the heart"—not of the eye.
Happy Women's day to all the women who more blessed with their inner beauty than outer.