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Welcome to the poetry of Mary Fumento.


Perhaps rose gardens were never promised, but are there not flowers along the way?


I'm a you and you're a you
But together we're a we
And you as you, me as me
May be the best we can ever be

But I think not, and just know
That we should try and see...

What grows in time, when nurtured
Just like an itty, bitty tree
Can be better than best, or better yet
An abundance of sheer possibility
- Mary O. Fumento, 2012

The Crux

No crown of thorns
Red roses, instead
And light, of course
I knew the beauty
I ultimately would see

Asking for a way
Your peace to receive
And giver you are
Unselfishly you gave
Presenting yourself to me

In a circle of love
In an image of hope
Where time won’t cease
I’ll be for you; you for me
In the brilliance of belief.
- Mary O. Fumento, 2011

Pearly Shoots

First sliver of green
Initial spray of spring
A splinter of hope
Emerging, blooming sight
Opening to drink light
Gentle curve of color
Clenched, finally busting out
Slowly unfolding under sun
Collecting drops of rain
Tea cups for thirsty stems
- Mary O. Fumento, 2010


Celestial, pristine being
Preferring you from earth
I dreamt you a butterfly
All movement on lovely wings
Enduring life, conceiving no harm
Spreading joy, peace and love
- Mary O. Fumento, 2010

Butterfly Slumber

(for Khadija, who does love butterflies)

Smallest, quiet life
Legs instead of sky
But hearing a call to fly
A beckon to yet rise
To grow, change inside
Slowest peel of knife

So you do unfold
Emerging, tiny one
Into what you become
Extending fragile faith
Greatest sign of strength
Courage that can’t be told

Little worm is set to slumber
Trusting what sleep will give
Shrouded, encased alive
Shedding skin once worn
One chance to be reborn
Awake: winged world of wonder
- Mary O. Fumento, 2008


When the branches beckon
The daring must rise
From the sheltering lowlands
And take to the clouded skies above

Abandoning the giving earth

Away the wild ones sail
Through the silent shroud of mist
Envisioning a brighter horizon
And embracing a future unpromised
- Mary O. Fumento, 1990

In Brilliance

With love
Like a river flowing through
Your friends will reassure you
That all will go as it should

In brilliance
Like a star forever shining though
The faith that others have in you
Will help you achieve your dreams
- Mary O. Fumento, 1995


Founded on sharp and cruel rocks
Standing still but formidable
Encased in a deep and swirling fog
A gentle light calling, calling
Over the violent, angry waves
Promising a private refuge within

The threatening storms are rendered harmless
The gales release but empty fury
Even the crying gulls seem to know
The warmth and security that you extend
For they flock to your fortified walls
As if the only comfort they have ever known
- Mary O. Fumento, 1988

If this life were all to which we could aspire, we would be content, never needing or desiring more. But because something else is available, we yearn and we seek and we dream – it is the bird with wings who longs to fly. The worm seeks its only comfort in familiar earth, for where else can it go and of what may it dream?


Unless thrown in the right direction
A broken pane
A rippled wave

Never minding the gutter where
Your beautiful gleam
Is lost among refuse

A curious glance or two
Or even a loose shoe
Wanting to be noticed

But not too impatient
To wait for stones to rise
-Mary O. Fumento, 1988


The power to recognize choices
Does not make decisions any easier
And your education does not give answers
It only retells what others chose to do

But you accepted the fearful situation
And realize that from here you proceed alone
So understand, perhaps for the first time
That you must think and feel only for yourself

Disregard what others may profess to you
For to you they are not responsible
Years from now when this is all through
Regrets will be reaped only by you

And though you wish you were a child again
I feel the uncertainty you have but know
Being mature does not mean you are always right
Only that you are willing to face your future
- Mary O. Fumento, 1989

In Joy

The happiness you bring
Is as natural as can be
An authentic honesty
Coming straight from the heart
And soothing every soul

The inner joy you extend
To all who pass your way
Makes the world embrace
The strength you dare to bring
And share with those you know
- Mary O. Fumento, 1997


Out of kindness you intervene
And want to do some good
You venture out and say
What we all perhaps know we should

From where do you draw the courage
And what makes you so strong
What makes you do the things
We should have done all along

For you show no fear in speaking
And go do just as you feel
Even when it endangers yourself
Jousting against another's shield

When we were all left speechless
Thank you for taking a stand
When we all stood there helpless
Thank you for lending a hand

When it was not your battle
Bless you for joining the fight
While might may not always prevail
Mercy always makes right
- Mary O. Fumento, 1997


In lieu of you
I sit and wait
For the sun to rise
And warm my soul
- Mary O. Fumento, 1997

And What of Tomorrow

Yesterday's memories, tomorrow's dreams
Where have they gone? What do they mean?
When shadows were short and sun rays long
I had no cares in the world - I belonged
My life was easy, and my mind was free
Never a thought of what was to be

Today as I stand on the dawn of my eve
Doubt haunts the corridors of what I believe
What was given by word, how can it be true?
Is anyone right or know what to do?
Troubled and puzzled, I begin to wonder
What has happened to my world of splendor?

I feel lost and alone, an orphan to the race
If this is my home, where is my place?
I used to be content, at the peak of life
Now I am disheartened and surrounded by strife
The shroud of sadness falls long and gloomy
The world seems to have nothing for me

If today is so futile, just another day
If my outlook only comprises looking the other way
A way that is easier, safer and blind
If I only help myself and not mankind
Then what of tomorrow where the walls have hidden doors
Where shadows are full and doubt scuffs the floors

I will need my hope to give me fortitude
My few dreams must become multitudes
With these I can lighten the darkened halls
And see far beyond these troubled walls
Tomorrow is not just another day or dream
It lives and glows like a warm sunbeam

Tomorrow is a star that shines bright and tall
To lead to a better day when darkness falls
- Mary O. Fumento, 1983

The Miner

I witnessed a passing glimmer
And jumped joyously at first glance
Clutching dreams and muddy tools
In hopes of promised riches at last

I waved eagerly at the hovering old man
Whispering confidently "It won't be long"
But the water ran frigid over my hands
The current unyielding, murky and strong

Day after day, I returned more determined
That the longer the dig, the more certain the take
In spite of the relentless, empty river
And its ungiving, worthless wake

After months of dismal searching
I finally surrendered in dismay
Approaching the waiting figure
Lamenting, "No treasure, again today"

But he just kept grinning and panning
Pondering where else should he be
To bask in the glory of expectation
And the wonders of all he could see

I wondered aloud at his tenacity
Why forever at the banks does he stay?
In an existence of toil for nothing
Why would anyone want it that way?

But he stressed he remained content
To be by a river providing none
Save a fish over fire for supper
And the company of me or anyone

And he bent over to try to convince me
As he scooped, letting earth from his hand
"Consider the wealth disguised in here
A beauty held captive in simple sand

For its lure alone gives us reason
To come dare to try every day
And bounty or no today does not matter
Your dreams may but be one mere failure away."
- Mary O. Fumento, 1995


DandelionToo stubborn to die
Too fragile to live
You exist on luck alone
Hoping each day to go untrample

You long to be recognized
And thus in courage flare out
In a vibrant show of uniqueness
Which is, of course, unappreciated

The Blades of Conformity remain secure
While threatening your own captivating identity
You plague them for only one reason
You do not mimic the others

They fear you, and the confidence you display
Knowing more, like you, may raise themselves like flags
And above the masses these wild ones dare wave
Ignoring the silent mandate for mindless order
- Mary O. Fumento, 1987

aspens in WinterDecember Boughs

Like fearsome charcoal masks
Branching across the sky
Immobile and impassive
Extending wide and high

Ever silent despite the wind
While swirling fogs enclose
Standing lifeless, listless as if
Their very spirits froze

Petrified matriarchs of the forest
With barbed hope for what tomorrow brings
Hold dreams of lush, green softness
A vision of the awaited spring
- Mary O. Fumento, 1988

Call to Honor

Ignorance kept me silent
And stole my sight from me
A blinding of the conscience
That would not let me see
The cruelty and the injustice
That haunt so many of us
The crimes of greed and envy
Committed in the name of trust

How many times it happens
And we all just turn our heads
Opting rather for indifference
And remaining uninvolved instead
For when it is someone else's problem
And it is only their cross to bear
It is so easy to be safe and distant
By keeping their crisis over there

But then his lance of realism
Doused in brilliant word
Prodded me into awareness
And hit me where it hurt
With a hard-hitting line or joke
He puts the blame where it goes
And tells us while entertaining
What we try so hard not to know

And this valiant one who dares us
To confront the truth we dread
We owe him more than we can pay him
For standing in our collective stead
He bravely has been what we refuse
Although we always do aspire
To be those very things he is
And all we can do is emulate and admire
- Mary O. Fumento, 1996


Goodbyes are never the same
Hurting, crying, asking, dying
They bring such pain
They bring only promise
Honesty's token, always broken
Take a goodbye only as is
All its qualities, good and bad
It can provide what we don't have
When it pulls people together
And in love reaches across forever
- Mary O. Fumento, 1981


The eternity of honesty
True nature cannot be disguised
So return to that which is simple
Go back to that which is basic
Be only what is self-obvious
And uncomplicated in every way
Deny not what you are
Truth will not lead you astray
- Mary O. Fumento, 1997


Off to tomorrow we go
Inevitable it always will be
Because that is where the future lies
And to achieve it is our destiny

But still we cling to the past and the present
As if if these moments mean anything
Outside of stepping stones it is direction
That gives them significance over nothing
- Mary O. Fumento, 1997


The lessons you have taught me
And the many stories you share
The truth you dared show me
Illustrates how much you care

That your life should bear repeating
Your memories you do not leave to dust
Instead you impart them and I hold them
Treasuring them as a sign of your trust

You could give me a coin or a book
Souvenirs of where you have been
But I am more interested in who you were
And how you became the person I call my friend

Possessions are not authentic timekeepers
After years they measure no real value
Only tradition bears the importance of the past
And only it over time holds its worth true

For how and why you have come to be here
Is the magic and the blessing of fate
For goodness emerges from yesterday and extends on
Because I met you somewhere along the way
- Mary O. Fumento, 1996


To be involved
And to be together
Gives internal strength
And reaffirmation of purpose

To be apart
Offers no comfort
And where love cannot encircle
There is no reassurance or warmth

We are less when separate
We are lost when alone
The roots which bind and hold us
Give support when things go wrong

For in being with those like us
Our very foundation is mirrored
We find acceptance and courage
And know there is joy in belonging

Each day is a celebration
Each moment is one to cherish
For as special as each person may be
In unison we walk with utmost potential
- Mary O. Fumento, 1996


(many thanks to the fisherman for making this poem a truly collaborative creation)

Like pearly DNA strings
Eggs fall from flitting flies
Into the icy stream below
The next cycle soon to arise

Strands lace the sunken stones
Nymphs abound, dart and dwell
Nature signaling them to surface
Abandoning their lifeless shells

It's all about this emerging
Floating wet up to the sky
And waiting for forming wings
In an instinctive drive to fly

Where male will meet female
A river in which to thrash
Sometimes mistaking darkened roads
Ending in an unceremonious SMASH

Living a speedy short life
Flying, always a frantic frenzy
Because time is all too swift
Eat, seek, mate and die
- Mary O. Fumento, 2006


When you are under that sky
Things will fall into place
And you won't even remember
What you were asking, or why

Location makes the difference
Not because anyone expected
We become different people
Less expectation, more inference

Definition becomes more clear
And identity, it is almost exact
As we welcome the things we want
And relinquish those we fear
- Mary O. Fumento, 2007

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