The Valley Of Pain

We were exiled from the Garden of Eden.
Its sinless wonders nevermore to regain.
So every man on life's toilsome journey,
Must enter the valley of pain.

We don't enter because of desire
And it's certainly not a voluntary fare.
But, rather, it's a matter of destiny
Compelling and forcing us there.

Eden's garden; its beauty so magnificent,
Can't be reclaimed; it is a lost paradise.
Trees of knowledge and life gone forever,
We are now paying consequences price.

The valley of pain is bleak and lonely,
And all heartache must be suffered alone.
The petty and trite ceases to matter.
When facing hurt as never before known.

In pain's valley, no restaurants exist.
Shopping malls can't be found anywhere.
There's no joy to be had from entertainment.
There are no parks, for it is no picnic there.

There are no banks in the valley of pain,
No theaters, no lounges, no beach.
In this valley, we have no lofty aspirations,
Surviving the only goal we hope to reach.

Pain's valley in not a poor man's haven;
We'll find no comfort, or ease or rest.
Nor will we encounter family or friends
For this valley is one's own personal test.

Bitter anguish is experienced in this valley,
A site of conflict on a titanic scale.
A place of failing and spiritual torture,
Of deficiency and interminable travail.

When we enter the valley of pain,
We no longer worry about unpaid bills.
We don't fret about outstanding car notes,
We don't care about acquiring new skills.

When we enter the valley of pain,
We don't dabble in vain vanity.
For this valley inevitably drives us,
To the very brink of human sanity.

When we enter the valley of pain
Family prayer just will not do.
Praying in the church is insufficient,
And social prayer is inadequate too.

We must find our own secret hideaway
Close the door to the world and all its strife.
We must surrender ourselves to our God
And let Him work a miracle in our life.

Saundra L. Washington is the author of two coffee table books: "Negative Disturbances, Homilies that Teach," and the book from which this poem is taken, "Room Beneath the Snow, Poems that Preach." She can be contacted at: http://www.clergyservices4u.org

In The News:


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WBUR

Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop: The Lyric Stage Puts Poetry In Motion For ...
WBUR
Tony-nominated dramatist Sarah Ruhl (“The Clean House,” “Eurydice”) has done it for you in “Dear Elizabeth,” an epistolary play culled from 30 years of letters shot back and forth between poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, who were connected at ...
'Dear Elizabeth': Poetry, letters, and the spaces in betweenBoston Globe

all 2 news articles »

Dailyuw

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William Curtis and Trip Waterhouse, street poets by trade, set up The Poem Store every Saturday morning at the U-District Farmers Market. It is a humble operation that consists of an umbrella, two folding chairs, two typewriters, and a sign reading ...


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Poetry fans who relish moments of still contemplation or appreciation for the written word might want to seek out the newest public literary feature being created for north shore residents: poetry boxes. Serving as tiny public displays of work by ...


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Charleston, South Carolina is a city blooming with passion, culture and identity. A huge part of that identity is the sense of expression that comes from the city's literature. Poetry and literary readings are great chances to get to know writers of ...


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