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The three enigmas of Turandot

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The three enigmas of Turandot The well of souls run deep in fabled lands of old. Of China's ancient dynasty and the lost Great Tartary, a ballad of love and loss that must be told. The Emperor's daughter, Turandot, a Princess of ice and fire, tho' haunted by an ancestral maiden, the Princess' Lo-u-Ling. Captured, raped, and killed by invading army's Prince, a millennia ago, both souls, now, forever tied in anger. Of virtuous life taken, a nightmare never forgot, and so never forgive men the heinous crime, No! a pact tween ancestress ghost and Turandot. The mandarin's edict read out loud to the gathered Palace throng, The three riddles of Turandot, royal bloodline suitor sought.. her hand in matrimony must answer. Head from royal shoulders fall, the price should one guess wrong. Crowd in chorus'd blood lust cried for the Executioner's ax. King of Tartar's failing legs gave way as the royal palace guard pushed back the teaming mass. The Prince, hearing Liù's call for help for her blind master, rushed to the strange, pitiful pair pressed into the street. From shadows amidst the melee of the restless throngs, now recognized a familiar face, It was Timor his own father! Vanquished King of Tartary, lost from Mother Volga's banks, and the ragged Rhipaean Mountains beyond. Of young and foolish love, the fair Prince of Persia risked all.. his heart and mind through beauty's blinded eye.. alas, he answered wrong. Though Peking's voice begged mercy upon seeing visage of grace, beguiled Persian Prince stood condemned. To die at the rise of next night's Moon. Heart of cold granite, the Princess refused, and with gesture from cold pale hand and glint of dying moon, in five chords, he was gone. Upon seeing the Princess' form and face in light., the unknown Prince heart ached for her..in rapt love. Three times he called her name..Turandot! Destiny fulfilled with three hammers of a gong. The Princess accepted the nameless suitor'd plea. Three palace ministers longed for far away hearths of home and village. Liù, and Timur tried to dissuade, the Emperor himself tried too, but the young Prince would not relent. Homesick Ministers await the unknown Prince's fate, a marriage to gayly plan or funeral 'twill either be, for a Tartary Prince with a nameless head. The Emperor on ivory thrown once more implores the Prince to relent again came the suitor's reply, "Son of Heaven! I ask to undergo the trial!" From her place of judgement she stands above the Prince and says aloud.. "Still in the time all can recall, there was alarm, terror, the rumble of arms! The Kingdom defeated! defeated! And Lo-u-ling, my ancestress, dragged off by a man, like you, like you, a stranger, there in the horrid night, where her sweet voice was stilled!" From the hushed citizens of Peking' growing voice, ( She’s slept for centuries in her huge tomb! ) "Stranger! Do not tempt Fortune! The enigmas are three, Death is one". The unknown Prince hearing her plea replied unfazed, "No, no... the enigmas are three, Life is one!" The citizens of Peking in fervor'd spirit called out, "Offer the supreme test to the foreign Prince, O Turandot! Turandot!" In the gloom of night an iridescent phantom flies, What is born each night and dies each dawn? spoke the unwilling Bride, 'Hope', came the Prince' answer, and hope the Prince now attained. What flickers red and warm like a flame, but is not fire? she plied, 'Blood', came his adept reply, second riddle now ordained. What is like ice, but burns like fire? she cried out, "Turandot!" Three enigmas, never meant to be divined, matched three answers written in the minister's scrolls. The cruel Princess calls for her father and Emperor to see his false heart.., but he stands true to the law and his word. Relieved to have passed the test, only to bear her repulse, still left beguiled, he quickly devised a way for her to go free. “If before morning you can discover my true and rightful name, righteously I shall forfeit my life.” From the Gardens of the Imperial Palace announced the Herald: "Upon pain of death, or dawn, none shall sleep", lest the Prince's name revealed. Nessun Dorma..,sing's the nameless Prince, and so too the Princess in her cold room. Look at the stars and tremble with love.. his name to remain hidden, 'til spoken in her mouth.
With apologies to Giacomo Puccini

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019




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Date: 11/8/2019 10:49:00 AM
Operas sing from the soul, but really sad to read the comment below that it was an unfinished one! 'Three enigmas, never meant to be divined' I love this brilliant write 'Upon pain of death, or dawn, none shall sleep, lest the Princes's name revealed'. You certainly have the touch of famous poets within you! An unequaled piece of art you have penned Richard. Hugs and blessings, Jennifer.
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TheRaven Avatar
Quoth TheRaven
Date: 2/11/2020 11:21:00 PM
Thanks for that Jennifer, liked that 'sing from the soul bit'. If you don't mind me asking, what is your favorite opera? -Richard
Date: 11/6/2019 7:26:00 PM
Beautifully crafted story. I never heard of it nor of Giacomo. I read your comment below that it was an unfinished opera. have you added to it then?
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Quoth TheRaven
Date: 2/11/2020 11:18:00 PM
Andrea, Thanks for your comment on Puccini's opera & aria. I embellished a bit here and there. I didn't add any content. Indeed.,left off right where Puccini had, his work sadly unfinished. -Richard
Date: 11/6/2019 3:08:00 PM
Wow, I am awed after reading that. "Destiny fulfilled with three hammers of a gong." Beautiful. "Three enigmas, never meant to be divined, matched three answers written in the minister's scrolls." an air of mystery, well penned.
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Quoth TheRaven
Date: 2/11/2020 11:07:00 PM
M.L., You actually mentioned three verses I didn't rip off of Puccini's actual opera. Very glad for that. -Richard
Date: 10/30/2019 10:24:00 AM
Profound. "What is born each night and dies each dawn? spoke the unwilling Bride, 'Hope'," - absolutely. And hope is all there is really.
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Quoth TheRaven
Date: 11/1/2019 9:40:00 PM
Caren, Thanks for the comment. Too true..,hope is all you get sometimes. -Richard
Date: 10/24/2019 11:22:00 PM
Gershon, Thanks for the great comments. Puccini's best(?), though unfinished, life work. -Richard
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Date: 10/23/2019 11:19:00 AM
Wow! What an epic write, Richard! I agree with Richard Lamoreux (below) about this being filmed... This is to the Orient as Shakespeare's writes were to Europe! Marvelous! Cheers, Gershon
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Date: 10/22/2019 8:06:00 AM
This should be made into a movie Richard I could see the scenes play out in my mind’s eye. Exceptional writing. You put a lot of thought into this piece.
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Quoth TheRaven
Date: 10/22/2019 10:19:00 AM
Richard, Thanks for the comment. I'll go one better. The opera Turandot was banned in China due to the negative portrayal it cast on their culture. Until they decided to tell it themselves at the Forbidden City Beijing in 1998. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyZHi-yVESQ
Date: 10/20/2019 2:50:00 PM
Great story telling... Enjoyed reading it..
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Quoth TheRaven
Date: 10/20/2019 3:01:00 PM
Silent, Thanks for the comment. Puccini enjoyed writing most of it. ") -Richard
Date: 10/20/2019 11:44:00 AM
A complicated story of love, revenge and power, and loss - I did not know this story that took place in China but an evident longing of love for Turandot is ever present by the unknown Prince. Fascinating and informative read about a dynasty of old. Hugs, Jennifer.
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Quoth TheRaven
Date: 10/20/2019 3:08:00 PM
Jennifer, Thanks for the comment. Puccini's unfinished Opera lacks many details of time and place, and rightly so. I learned of the former Great Tartary Empire that is hidden from view in modern history. -Richard
Date: 10/19/2019 11:36:00 PM
An incredible write my friend. Is your poem based on the opera? Where does your recording fit with the poem? My Italian... if that's what it was... is a little weak. Have a great day.
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Quoth TheRaven
Date: 2/11/2020 11:05:00 PM
"Nessun dorma" (Let no one sleep) from the final act of Giacomo Puccini's opera Turandot. One of my favorite Arias. -Richard
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Quoth TheRaven
Date: 10/19/2019 11:41:00 PM
David, Had so wished to see this poem in unread poems. But people hunger for the written word it would seem, even though left so crude. Nessun Dorma is the lament of the unknown Prince. Who wishes, one thing only, the heart of Turandot. 'None shall sleep'. -Richard