Gedda Ilves
        Born in Northern China to Russian parents, and speaking Russian as her native language, Gedda Ilves lived in Shanghai during World War II and came to Los Angeles via Brazil in 1951.  She has been a passionate reader all her life but only began seriously writing after retirement. She has appeared in numerous publications including Poetic Diversity, Gentle Strength Quarterly, The Rag and Poetic Voices. She has two books—Grains of Life and A View from Within.
        I have been workshopping and reading with Gedda for a number of years.  Her work is often joyous and life-affirming and displays the enthusiasm and fervor not of a retired person but someone in her teens or twenties feeling that first burst of life that usually comes only in earliest youth. There is often humor in this work, there is a gentle longing for the long-gone days of the past, there is modesty and gentleness. She has said one of her goals in writing is to leave something for her children and grandchildren. Most of our grandmothers leave behind a few cookbooks, a few notes, a few scattered pictures and letters and home movies. Very few of us are privileged to inherit from our mothers and grandmothers such ample and generous gifts as Gedda leaves us in her poetry.


The Phone Call

The sound of the phone
ringing in my ears,
a strange voice
on the other end
like a roar of a distant storm,
a hurricane inside me.

The chill of early morning,
a pale light on the
corner of your desk,
the paleness of your face
so far away that I can only see
in the rearview mirror of my mind.

The voice on the phone
telling me how brave you were,
I know that better than this voice.

Reality recedes -
you have to come back,
I have no one but you...

I can no longer hear the voice,
the receiver slips from my hand.

Sun rays sparkle on the glass
of your photo on the desk;
I always told you
that you resemble Lord Byron
and he lived as long,
fighting in a foreign land.

The voice on the phone is hissing,
I yank the wire from its jack
and sink into black silence.


2010 Gedda Ilves
Gedda Ilves was a Featured Poet who read her poetry at the January 2010
Second Sunday Poetry Series.