Joyce Wilson

Building & Rebuilding

No one walks alone in Cairo now.
The streets are silenced under martial law.
Where freedom in the public space emerged
And was raised up, a banner for the world,
Traditions of building and rebuilding
Live in the makers of the barricades,
The rescuers, dispensers of first aid,
In women now and centuries ahead
Who play their part in unrestricted space
And haul their buckets to the gates to fill,
Who wait, as four regimes have come and gone,
To get on with their lives, not as before
But as they must, to carry water through
The safety zone, and then to carry on.

Privacy of Dreams

Taken from the visions of her dreams
And woven through with filaments of light,
Her garment held the promise of her dreams
Close to her heart, protected from the light.

Her pounding heart defied their pounding boots.
She trusted in the privacy of dreams.
To punish her, they lifted up their boots,
And when they stepped, they trampled on her dreams.

Between Regimes

Was she one of those girls I met that year
On the porch of the massive Citadel?
She'd be nearly forty years old by now,
Much older than the girl in this small screen.
Perhaps her mother was the one I met,
Who must have seen her fall. Perhaps an aunt.
Her sister and her brother must have seen
Her fall, her father must have seen and wept.

What happened to the promise of the spring?
We waited and tomorrow never came.
A weight swings back and forth between regimes,
Each one oppressive, unopposed, and armed,
A different face but with the same decree:
"Whoever is afraid shall stay unharmed."

Evening Into Day

And what of others just like her,
Have they arrived at Tahrir Square
While outside, martial law explodes
In clouds of tear gas, isla-mist
As protestors arrange the cars
Between the hutch and hospital
Not far from guards who order tanks
To flatten makeshift camps and tents?

Have others fallen as she fell
But undetected by the press?
Have they been able to get up,
To make their way to solid ground,
Not to proclaim an evening done
But to announce a day begun?


Joyce Wilson has taught English at Suffolk University and Boston University. Her first poetry collection The Etymology of Spruce and a chapbook The Springhouse both appeared in 2010. She is creator and editor of the magazine on the Internet, The Poetry Porch, which has been on-line since 1997. Her poems have appeared in many literary journals, among them Poetry Ireland, Ibbetson Street Magazine, and Salamander. She writes book reviews regularly for The Poetry Porch, and occasionally for Harvard Review where she was managing editor during the 1990s, and The Drunken Boat.


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The two most recent additions to The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline are Elizabeth Barrett Browning by Eileen R. Kinch and Marceline Desbordes-Valmore by Anna M. Evans.

Wendy Videlock is the recipient of the 2016 Mezzo Cammin Scholarship to the Poetry by the Sea conference.

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32 Poems
The Academy of American Poets
The Atlantic
The Christian Science Monitor
The Cortland Review
Favorite Poem Project
The Frost Place
The Iowa Review
Light Quarterly
Modern American Poetry
The Poem Tree
Poetry Daily
Poetry Society of America
Poets House
Raintown Review
String Poet
Valparaiso Poetry Review
Verse Daily
Women's Poetry Listserv
The Yale Review

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