Gedda Ilves was born in Manchuria, North China, in the city of Harbin. She graduated from the YMCA High School which was staffed by teachers and professors from Russia.  After graduation Gedda moved to Shanghai and lived there throughout WWII.  She attended Shanghai Commercial Institute. The political climate was changing and after five years of regulatory waiting period for an entry visa into the United States, she and her husband came to Los Angeles, via Brazil, in 1951.  Eight years later she lost her husband. After her son graduated from Loyola High School, Gedda attended adult education classes which she continues to this day. Her first book of poetry, "grains of life" was published in 2005. Her second book, "a view from within" was published in 2008.  In 2011 her poem "Elegy" was selected as a winner by Flintridge Bookstore for the 2011 Memorial Contest and her third book, "interval" was published in the same year. Her poems have appeared in several literary journals and three anthologies.  She has received awards from London Book Festival, Los Angeles Book Festival, and was a finalist in Eric Hoffer Awards for 2012.

“Gedda Ilves’ poetry contains a delicacy and grace that disguises rock hard strength of an extraordinary human being. She brings us a subtle beauty that transcends the most savage realities of life.”    Alice Pero



Back in the city
I lived and loved
before its destruction

Our neighbors still there;
I stop by the fence,
they don't remember me

The mother in the yard
where jonquils bloomed full force
looks at me unknowingly

I remind her of the years
when air smelled of roses
and strangers greeted each other

She embraces me and sobs
husband and son killed
by people they thought were friends.

We go to the cemetery
tiny patches of grass
no alleys I walked as a girl
and gathered blue lupines

graves crowded like teeth
in a piranha's mouth


Caetera Desunt

(The rest is missing)

Crystal shards
sparkle on the floor,
I stumble onto a chair
submerged in Hades again.

My favorite vase,
he knows it, of course,
never a reason,
too much drink.

Captive moments of tenderness
now too rare,
harsh words spewing instead.

Dusk seeps into the room,
shadows form ominous images:
Bosch's flying monsters
on the wall.

Eternity spans
between us...


I am not jealous any more,
I don't live in illusions or dreams,
I don't write poetry any more,
I don't wait for the knock on the door.

I live in a quiet way,
Alone and in silence,
Keeping intrusions at bay,
Holding my feelings inside me.

If my fate will favor me
And a rainbow crosses my path,
I will quietly open the door
And will not question the past.


Gedda Ilves



2014 Gedda Ilves


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