Gedda Ilves







DIN OF VOICES                         


I throw coins

into the Trevi Fountain,

hope luck will fly my way.

So many visitors here,

a din of voices.


« no one promised you »

« I was born in Italy »

« vamos a Lisboa amanha »

« any toilets nearby »

« vous etes si chanceux »

« love is more romantic here »

« bellissimo »

« look at the statue »

« hai, watashi wa kyoshidesu »

« has estado en la Ciudad del Vaticano »

« the  wealthiest »

« example of the 18th century architecture »

« where is your home »

« designed by Nicola Salvi »

« no, I don’t speak German »


If only the world

could speak in one tongue.






Orange arrows from the fiery disk

light up the air,


the blue above striped pale yellow,

pink on the horizon;


the scent of roses, blooming jasmin,

silky gardenias.


Birds awaken to sing the new day,

their loud chirping


an agitated quorum of women

venting feelings


about their problems,

additions in their nests,


or maybe they complain

of scarcity of food,


of greedy  crows grabbing all,

I witness this myself,


but maybe, just maybe they chirp

about  what’s most important,


if I could  only understand

their language


it may’ve changed my life,

help me comprehend the world.





(in translation)


It was caliginous in the grove

Bodacious  critters gamboled in the grass

And brachiated up above

The moon was hid behind  mangroves.


Beware  of Jabberwock my son,

On autochtonic legs,

Acromegalic body fearsome

His brachycephalic head – a keg.


A steely scabbard in his hand

Against  a baobab tree he leaned

When Jabberwock  with eyes of flame

Raging through the quag he came.


Theroid beast amain he pierced,

He leaves him quondam dead

And as a trophy with his head

He caracoled fast back.


Oh, chimeromach,

My valiant  boy,

You’ve slain the Jabberwock,

Brindize to you, oh, what joy!


It was caliginous in the grove

Bodacious critters gamboled in the grass

And  brachiated up above,

But no more Jabberwock!




 Glossary to Jabberwocky

(in translation)


caliginous                          dark, murky

bodacious                           bold

brachiate                             swing from limb to limb

mangrove                          a tree of the verbena family

autochtonic                       primitive

brachycephalic                 square

acromegalic                      having oversized extremities

baobab                               Old World tropical tree

theroid                              beastly

amain                               with violent effort

quondam                           once but no longer

caracol                               a turning or capering movement

chimeromach                   one who fights mythical monsters

brindize                              to toast, to drink to one’s health

quag                                    grass or turf over a marsh






About POEMS:            

A Din of Voices —    unpublished

Code  —     from  « at the threshold »

Jabberwocky  —   from  « a view from within »
















Gedda Ilves was born in Harbin, North China of Russian parents.  Came to Los Angeles in 1951.  She has four books of poems:  « grains of life », « a view from within », »interval », and « at the threshold. »  Her poems have appeared in several literary journals and four anthologies.  In 2006 she received the Editor’s Choice Award for Outstanding Achievement  in Poetry from  and the International  Library of Poetry;  Los Angeles Book Festival (runner- up),  London Book Festival,  was a finalist in Eric Hoffer Awards, and Paris Book  Festival (runner-up).






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