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:


Snark and sexting are making Patricia Lockwood a young poetry star
Public Radio International
At age 32, Patricia Lockwood is making a splash in the poetry world — as you might expect, considering that her rise to literary fame included the publication of a 1200-word poem called "Rape Joke." ...


Daily News & Analysis

A pocketful of poetry
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It was in front of a keen audience that Jane Bhandari and Anju Makhija launched a collection of poems titled To Catch a Poem. Compiled from the works of noted Indian poets, this book aims at developing an appreciation for poetry in Indian youth between ...


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Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
They stream into the Pittsford Community Library with laptops, notebooks, printouts and sometimes stacks of poetry books at noon every Monday. They are the members of O Pen! Poetry Over Lunch, and they chatter and wave hello to each other as they head ...


CBC.ca

Zaccheus Jackson, 36, dies in train accident 2:14
CBC.ca
A void has been ripped into the lives of family, friends and Canada's spoken word community with the death of 36-year-old Zaccheus Jackson this week. Jackson, who became a fixture and inspiration in Vancouver's slam poetry scene starting nine years ago ...

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Poetry a great place to get lost, forget yourself
The Coloradoan
“The Disappearing Cowboy Trick” is the intriguing title of Fort Collins author Kristin Abraham's latest book of poetry. Do cowboys really disappear? No, this is merely her clever title melding cowboy folklore with the carnival. Abraham said most of her ...


Gazette Live

Teesside's first international poetry festival set to launch in Middlesbrough ...
Gazette Live
An international poetry festival is set to launch on Teesside in October to celebrate literary talents. A selection of local, national and international poets will form part of T-Junction, Teesside's International Poetry Festival which runs from ...


Variety

Venice Film Review: 'Leopardi'
Variety
Despite considerable enthusiasm among international cognoscenti for the 19th-century Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi, his fame remains largely at home; Mario Martone's “Leopardi” may briefly expand his name abroad, but is unlikely to inspire a fresh wave ...
'Leopardi': Venice ReviewHollywood Reporter
Il Giovane Favoloso review – a sweeping, swooning Leopardi biopicThe Guardian

all 4 news articles »

Vancouver Sun

Renowned Vancouver slam poet dead at 36
Vancouver Sun
Zaccheus Jackson, a nationally known and locally loved spoken word poet from Vancouver, has died. He was 36. Jackson was in Toronto, where he was scheduled to perform at the International Poetry Slam. Toronto police confirmed Friday that Jackson was ...
Vancouver poet Zaccheus Jackson's death by train in Toronto 'an absolute tragedy'Toronto Star

all 4 news articles »

Is poetry dead? Does anyone care?
Danbury News Times
A decade ago Newsweek Magazine published an article with the provocative headline: "Poetry is Dead. Does Anybody Really Care?" The author concluded that while "poetry is the highest form of writing," it takes "work" and that our culture was becoming ...

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