Title: Turandot
Copyright: Mares P. W., June, 2022
Commercial rights: FuTuRisN LLC
Workshop: The Mechanical Shakespeare
Keywords: Deception, Infidelity
Original language: Spanish


— Mares P. W., June, 2022 —

El sueño se quedó dormido entre mis dedos,
en el borde de mi taza hogareña de café matutino:
a pesar de la mañana fría, compartida con los miedos,
centinela soy, cuidadora en la piel de tu destino.

Beso tus mejillas sin azúcar, con espresso,
mis labios rozan los puntiagudos pelos de tu barba,
indecisa si todavía quiero leche al vapor, confieso,
mezclo cucharaditas de amor soluble y pasión amarga.

Después de la noche turbia del agua en una olla separada,
sé que llegaste a mi taza al amanecer, de madrugada …
aún amándote, voy a poner a gusto tu susto masculino:
sin agitar el tarro “por parejas”, emulsionaré con el vecino.

¡No despiertes!
Tarde es.
¡Sigue durmiendo con Hermes!

Al final, despierto también duermes:
¡lo que “Turandot” es, es!


“Turandot” is inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot, which draws from a Persian tale with reversed gender roles. It portrays a relationship that has soured, with the speaker expressing anger and sarcasm towards her lover. Convinced of her lover’s infidelity the previous night, she decides to cheat on him with the neighbor, as this seems to be a recurring pattern. The speaker directly addresses her lover, urging him to awaken and realize that her love for him has faded. She compares him to Turandot, a cold and cruel princess who challenges suitors to guess her name under the threat of death. The poem also references Nessun dorma (Let no one sleep), an aria from the opera, where a prince in love with Turandot sings with hope and confidence that he will win her heart.

The poem adopts a bitter tone of irony and sarcasm, contrasting the romantic and hopeful mood of the aria with the reality of betrayal and deception. It cleverly plays with the words “despierta” (wake up) and “duermes” (you sleep), suggesting the lover’s obliviousness to the speaker’s infidelity, implying that it might be better for him not to know the truth. The poem concludes with a pun on the name Turandot, implying that the lover himself is cold-hearted and cruel.

In terms of form, the poem exhibits a musical quality with frequent use of rhyme and alliteration that create contrasting effects. It follows an ABAB CDCD EFEF GHGH rhyme scheme, creating a sense of harmony and order. However, some of the rhymes are slant rhymes or eye rhymes, such as “espresso” and “confieso,” or “parejas” and “vecino,” generating discord and tension. The poem also employs extensive alliteration, as seen in phrases like “susto masculino” or “parejas, emulsionaré,” which produce a musical effect and emphasize specific words or sounds. Its regular iambic tetrameter meter, with each line containing four feet of unstressed-stressed syllables (e.g., “El sueño se quedó dormido entre mis dedos”), establishes a steady rhythm that contrasts with the irregularity of the rhyme scheme.

Structurally, the poem is divided into four quatrains, or stanzas, each consisting of four lines. The first three stanzas follow a similar pattern: they commence with an imperative verb (“Despierta,” “Beso,” “Después”), followed by a description of the speaker’s actions or emotions regarding her lover. The final stanza deviates from this pattern, starting with a negative imperative (“No despiertes”) and concluding with a rhetorical question (“¿lo que ‘Turandot’ es, es?”). This arrangement generates a sense of climax and resolution, infused with irony and sarcasm. Additionally, the poem employs enjambment, allowing sentences to flow from one line to the next without punctuation, as in “centinela soy, cuidadora / en la piel de tu destino.” This technique fosters continuity, fluidity, suspense, and surprise.

The poem belongs to the lyric genre, expressing the personal feelings and emotions of the speaker. While it exhibits influences from the sonnet form, with its 14-line structure and use of rhyme, it deviates from the typical sonnet’s structure and lacks a distinct turn or change in tone or perspective. Instead, it maintains a consistent tone of bitterness and irony throughout. Furthermore, the poem incorporates elements from other genres and forms, such as opera (Turandot), aria (Nessun dorma), and bilingualism (Spanish-English).

The poem showcases rich and varied language and techniques. The speaker employs figurative language, including metaphors (“El sueño se quedó dormido entre mis dedos”), similes (“mis labios rozan los puntiagudos pelos de tu barba”), personification (“en el borde de mi taza hogareña de café matutino”), hyperbole (“a pesar de la mañana fría, compartida con los miedos”), and puns (“lo que ‘Turandot’ es, es”). These devices create vivid imagery and convey the speaker’s attitude and emotions. The speaker also employs imagery related to coffee, such as “taza hogareña de café matutino,” “espresso,” “leche al vapor,” and “amor soluble,” which juxtapose the warmth and comfort of the domestic scene with the coldness and bitterness of the relationship. Symbolism is present as well, with Turandot and Nessun dorma representing the contrast between appearance and reality, hope and despair, love and hate. The speaker’s tone, mood, and voice effectively communicate her feelings and perspective. The tone is sarcastic and ironic, mocking her lover’s ignorance and naivety, while the mood is bitter and angry, unveiling her infidelity and contempt. The voice is direct and personal, as the speaker addresses her lover using the second person (“tu”) and shares her thoughts and actions in the first person (“yo”).

Target Audience

The best audience for the poem “Turandot” could be anyone who is interested in poetry, especially poetry that explores themes of love, betrayal, deception, irony, and contrast. The poem could also appeal to people who are familiar with or curious about opera, especially Turandot by Puccini. The poem could also attract people who enjoy bilingual or multicultural literature, as it mixes Spanish and English languages and cultures.