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From the inside out, and so we discover.


We shed skins like snakes
And dig like squirrels to find
Any hidden identity…
We rummage as if we lost
What might have mattered most
Although it was deep inside
All along
- Mary O. Fumento, 2011


TreeAgainst a beautiful blue background
Your leaves, ever lush, begin to shimmer
And you dance, as if your soul were alive
Sweeping, swooping, moving as if you had hips
Green shimmering, dancing with the wind

Are you one, bound to the very air?
Huffs, puffs and you shake with elegance
I watch, wonder, and witness your beauty
Blown, but gently swayed, nodding
As if you only choose to agree

A waltz with an invisible partner
Who caresses your shoulders in sync
It suits you, to move so effortlessly
Your heart leaps for your lover
And together you embrace and rejoice
- Mary O. Fumento, 2010

The Edge of Threshold

You will know the place
Invite yourself over
Discover it within
The walls that are solace
Where we are safe to cry
And feel and act and say
Finally be yourself
You are home – at last!
- Mary O. Fumento, 2010


There are birds outside my window,
And I hear their music every day.
Songs increase, volume and response,
Melody strikes every moment; they notice not.

They sing because it comes from inside;
No conscious choice or decision.  Rather,
An intent to join and communicate,
And in so many ways mirroring flight.

Seamless, effortless, uninhibited.
Notes uplifted to the very sky.
And with their vocal optimism,
They gather together and meet as they fly.
- Mary O. Fumento, 2009

The Frozen Man

I read about this discovery a few years ago, and I was intrigued deeply. And so I try to put it to poetry to find out who he was.

(ode to Otzi, the iceman)

Something in his eyes still flicker
A distant but distinct sign of life
As if his presence waits to be thawed
Icy walls, his reflection: like a gleam on glass
His limbs lay dormant, his emotions internalized
A captured beat pounds in his buried heart
The source of all that life can conceal
Emanating from within, seeking expression out
And the burning flicker in his unmoving eyes
A timeless message from the person inside
- Mary O. Fumento, 2009


Upon the pure sky
The clouds pass by
And I lost in wonder
Compose my deep reply
- Mary O. Fumento, 2008


Even sparrows know to fly
To take to wing
And find new sky
Open air, whatever tomorrow
May bring

Unseemly birds
Unlikely characters
In a tale about change
Courage taken
To embrace the unknown

With no expectation
With no glace behind
Nothing unusual
But the will to rise
And arrive
- Mary O. Fumento, 2008

Poet note:
Sparrows are common, ordinary, humble. They don’t do anything special. They are not all that smart or pretty.

Even non-birdwatchers know a sparrow is a “nothing” bird. Pay no attention. They are everywhere.

But even boring ole sparrows, by their very every day nature which encourages them to seek new horizons, are extraordinary. They don’t know much, but they know they can change.

And so they do.

And I love watching them decide when to stay and when to go.


Like an amputee
The limb is gone
And it has been

But the rest of me
Still expects it to be
There where it was

I must catch up
To its absence
- Mary O. Fumento, 2008


For how I stared,
Devouring you
With my eyes.

No words
Would have prevented
My invasive glance
And the terms it took.

For all the love I felt.
Memorizing you left
My heart opened wide.
- Mary O. Fumento, 2008

Agape: wide open; being in a state of wonder.

Agapism professes that love (or "agape") should be the sole ultimate value and that all other values are derived from it, or that the sole moral imperative is to love. Theological agapism holds that our love of God is expressed by loving our fellow man. As the ethics of love, agapism indicates that we should do the most loving thing in each situation, letting love determine our obligation rather than rules. Alternatively, given a set of rules, agapism indicates to follow those rules which produce the most love.


At different places we cross
Always a step ahead of me
But so clear within my sight
A vision to pursue and see

Like light at the end of dark
There is a brilliance set before
A hope, a happiness, a sanctuary
Things I cannot possibly ignore

Was it moon, or maybe sun
From where came that shine
That brought me to my senses
Making beautiful warmth mine

For mine it was, and will be
Although only lasting a day
The light now resides inside
Deep within me it still stays
- Mary O. Fumento, 2008


In and out of view
Sometimes darker, or light
Often close, yet ever moving
But never out of sight
- Mary O. Fumento, 2004


He was not right
I knew so long ago
But denied and forgot
Until it seemed true no more

Accept it now
Taste and digest it
Know what he was
Realize what I am
- Mary O. Fumento, 1999

A Window on 13th

It is noon hour outside my window
And cabs carry business people away
While shoppers hurry to catch buses
The last one to the suburbs
Shop lights blink, then dark and empty
And a tinged moon climbs the sky

A trash can lid clanks open
In reaches a grubby hand
Discarded newspapers tumble by
Tossed by the tired wind
Cigarette lighters ignite, flickering
Lit by those with nowhere to go

Neon promises in the night
And playmates with a price
Dagger eyed women who beckon
Those with scuffled shoes
Standing lonely in the street
Needing but not wanting to go

In a brash honk or two
The traffic will return
The purposeful, bustling many
Who arrive in force again
Briefcases, bags in tow
Prepared for a day of direction

In the brilliance of the noon sun
Even the neon seems invisible
There above the pushing mass
Buy - Earn - Save - Spend
A day of consummation and gratification
While litter passes unnoticed on the ground
- Mary O. Fumento, 1997


To embrace the approaching darkness
And be embalmed in its fearsome glory
To believe knowledge lies within its shadows
Is to know how blessed is the light

To accept the midnight challenge
And venture deep into one's self
Where deception can no longer hide
And recognize how vital is the light

To kiss that cursed blackness
And to accept the truth it holds
Is to awake by dawn fully accepting
Most sacred is the light
- Mary O. Fumento, 1996

The Longing

Shadows of gray return
Enveloping an empty space
Where no one was before

What wild creature could know
The comfort of a master gone
Believing he will return?

The free only know the amble
A sudden rush to go nowhere
When time, boundaries are extended
- Mary O. Fumento, 2001

The Void

I want what I cannot have
I obtain it only to not desire it
Just as I seem content
I observe how miserable I should be
When the world seems unbearable
I notice how fortunate I am...
For that which I already have
I want to rid myself of
Is everyone this confused
Or am I truly alone?
- Mary O. Fumento, 1988


If there were no tomorrow
Would I love you for today?
Would the present be enough
To ward the restlessness away?
- Mary O. Fumento, 1997

Song for Sanoma

When we heard you were coming
We looked forward to the days
That we would have to adore you
And share you in tender ways

The joy of your sweet perfection
Would brighten our lives and dreams
We had so many big plans for you
Without you how lonely today seems

In our hearts we hold you forever
And surround you with our love
Welcome to our friends and our family
As you greet us from afar and above

Although we hoped to have you near
Distance will not diminish how much we care
Family is the many people who love you
And love lasts whether here or there

This is not the end of our love for Sanoma
It is only the beginning, and it is forever
- Mary O. Fumento, 2003

Fallen Angel

By Bobbi Gardner and Dani Stephen
For Chessna

On April 28th a little angel came,
Chessna gave this little one the perfect little name…
Sanoma Nicole Chapman, as interesting as it sounds,
Fits this little girl right down to her last pound.
She came out 19 inches, 6 pounds and 7 ounces.
She was bigger than we expected, more perfect than we could have planned.
Her spirit took us over as we held her in our hands.
But don't think we didn't get to love her because for 9 months she was here,
And as I saw my sister crying I could tell her love was nothing but sincere.
I could see it pouring out in every single tear.

So don't cry for this fallen angel because she didn't fall from grace.
But instead has been lifted up to rest in God's embrace.
- 2003


A spot of brilliant light
Against the blackest sky
An internal beacon lit
Calling from far away
With direction and specificity
Towards something confident, content
Regardless of its origin unknown
- Mary O. Fumento, 2004


And said the noble lord of his beloved lady, "Tell me the truth, how is she?"

"She is," replied the chambermaid, "as any fair lady should be."

"But is she content," he asked, "with all the kingdoms and realms I have won for her? What does she think of these, and of me?"

Glancing into the face of her king, the chambermaid replied, "Like the wild bird who eyes the lush forest green upon which to rest and the purest water of which to drink, she came to be with thee. And your fountains to heaven foam, your garden petals like perfection unfold, and your handsome gifts surely treasures be. But even the wildest bird who cherishes these longs more for the sky, for lonesome flight, to return to wing and to be free."
- Mary O. Fumento, 1990

For Nothing

I often wonder
If anyone realizes
All I try to be
All of the effort I exert
All of the tears I weep
Is anything altering
Or am I for nothing
Perhaps no changes
Occur anyway
Does anyone even
Notice me here
Or am I
Solely affected?
- Mary O. Fumento, 1988

The oceans continuously travel, compelled by an unseen but very present force. The water moves with a distinct, undeniable rhythm, an invisible power commanding control. Does not human life have a similar pull, a steering essence that guides us by instinct alone?


We all make deals with devils
And hulking demons they be
Haunting, horrible, and howling
Yet it is we who seek
The peace they seem to offer
Whatever terrible respite
From a storm however awful
They give haven for a night
But the morning sun returns
And deep in debt we find
Our lives are bound to hell
With forever to pay in kind
- Mary O. Fumento, 2004


In ways of power and wonder
You froze them all in time
Minutes became forever
And action became art
You sculpted the very breath
The life that was inside
Locked for the world to gaze
Reflecting on horrors unknown
- Mary O. Fumento, 2005


What I wouldn't give
To help them up again
To take their pain away
And give it all to me
I can take the wounds
I can absorb the scars
That's how it ought to be
- Mary O. Fumento, 2004


The blackest mark
The deepest soil
Staining the pure
And making unwhole

Not so much trouble
As pain you caused
A speck
A mar

On an otherwise
Perfect record
- Mary O. Fumento, 2007


Trees in southern Georgia
Spanish moss dripping sensuously
Like liquid off the limbs
Clinging like dainty lace
To the ancient boughs and leaves
And dipped elegantly like a woman
Feeling for a firm place
to set an expensively shod foot
Onto the murky ground below.

One tree in particular
With most interesting curves, swells
In its many wondrous branches
And its trunk bent just so
Reminding of a woman's neck
Green tendrils of unruly hair
Wisping down and around
Draping the secret places
And keeping them remote.
- Mary O. Fumento, 2006


What affords us comfort?
When life shows its ugly side?
Where do we dare retreat?
When safety is only inside?

In strength, find your refuge
In care, embalm your hurt
Savor the sanctity of self
Let outer being become inert

Passive isn't an excuse
Or a way around the cause
It's a salve for the wound
The place to gain a pause

To reconcile the odds
And put pieces in place
To regain the balance
Foster the sense of grace

And master once again
The many balls we throw
In silence, and in peace
Resides the wisdom we know
- Mary O. Fumento, 2007


Of all things to hold
All those far, near
Like shadows cast by skies
I was never even here

The darkness once beheld
Passing like night to day
The beauty in the being
Let things be their way

Illumination more than light
Darkness isn't empty black
When eclipse is just beginning
Shadow is the only way back
-Mary O. Fumento, 2007


The ancient stone was thrown
And like ripples on water
The pain will grow, surround
Becoming bigger until it fades
And finally disappears forever
- Mary O. Fumento, 1987

With recent thunder, I am remembering a rainstorm from my childhood where the drops struck a mountain lake with such force I could not tell the direction of rain. The splashes in the lake caused such reverberation, the force seemed equal coming down as going up. I revisit and recompose a poem from 1987, because that lake is embedded deep within me.


Fragments | Imagery | Elements | Hope | Passages | Light | Eclipse | Reflections | Passion