Ilsa Gilbert - The Poet of Bleecker Street


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While you are gone, my fair one
You wish me to take tea with the corrupt dead dauphin,
And dip my crumpets
Into the pale water of abstinence, tarrying with my essence
As if I were a Tarot Card

Alone, sorting my cardboard kings
On stilted mahagony.
I should love the future they foretell, you feel,
And with quiet ecstasy, truly somnolent ease,
Crease the edges of my bed with my own body.
Stretching to the eternity of negation!

No! If I were a follower of St. Anthony,
I would feel complacent in all this,
But it is this inhabited room that I sense,
And with tense heart, I gobble tarts
And prophesy my doom gleefully,
Waiting for your return, our wanton reveries.

----Ilsa Gilbert
Click to view Auto da Fé opera performance clip:
Click here to get QuickTime player




Click here to hear a portion of The Young Sleep

The Young Sleep for Baritone and Piano Trio, copyright 2007 Eugene W. McBride, BMI.
Ilsa Gilbert, poet, poem - The Young Sleep, copyright 2004 Ilsa Gilbert.
Eugene W. McBride, composer.
Performance from New York Composers Circle concert, Dec. 2007.

Anthony Turner, baritone
Mimi Stern-Wolfe, piano
Lori Miller, violin
Joanne Lin, violoncello

The young sleep,
The old weep,
The coward will creep
Into the light,
But the brave will dive into the deep,
Searching for beauty
In the dark sea,
Wanting to bring up
A treasure
They can keep
As a memento
When it is time to weep,
When it is time to sleep
Forever more
In some dark sea,
Some far shore,
Where they bury the old,
Coward or bold,
And some will remember
The fright you fought,
And the treasure you brought
And passed on
To the young
Awake now with eyes open
To measure their world
Unfolding —
As the earth yields up
Secrets to explore —
Not time yet for feet
To march to an unknown grave,
Where the old sleep.

October 23, 2004

Copyright 2004 Ilsa Gilbert




Theater for the New City presents

Downtown Chamber & Opera Players

Phoenix Park (A Poet’s Journey)

Libretto by Ilsa Gilbert

Music by David Strickland

Conductor: Mimi Stern-Wolfe
Stage Director: Tom O'Horgan

Department of Cultural Affairs Challenge Grant;
The Dramatists Guild; BMI Foundation;
New York State Council of the Arts
Many Individual Donors

Performances in NOVEMBER:
7, 8, 9, 10; 14, 15, 16, 17; 21, 22, 23, 24
@ Theater for the New City

Information: Audrey Ross Publicity (212) 586- 3500
(212) 477 1594:
Tickets: $15; $8 (sen & stu)






The Poet of Bleecker Street
(3 concerts in 1991, 1994, 2000)

Songs of Revelations and Secrets (C. Colby Sachs)
Dance, Poetry, Vocals & Orchestra

The Bundle Man (Marshall Coid)
Chamber Opera

The Poet’s ABC’s (Nicholas Scarim)
Narrative & Piano Solo

Auto Da Fe (Mark Grant)
Chamber Opera for Solo Soprano

One Night Together (Daniel Burwasser)
Chamber Opera set in the Holocaust


Songs of Revelations and Secrets

Artwork by Daina Higgins



The Bundle Man
Chamber Opera
Marshall Coid, Music
Ilsa Gilbert, libretto


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