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:


Letters: Contemporary Poetry
New York Times
It was encouraging to see so much space given over to contemporary poetry in the Book Review (July 20). I hope to see a poetry category added to the best-seller lists, regardless of how modest sales may be. The Times has a tremendous impact on ...


The Guardian

Take a line for a walk: share your artworks inspired by poetry
The Guardian
As with all of our projects, you can take the topic in any direction you like – it can feature lines from poems or simply be inspired by poetry; and you can use any materials you like, from ceramic and pen and ink to needlework or film. If poems are ...
Poetry in The Heights: Free events, 2 pm at Heights Neighborhood Library, Aug ...Your Houston News
Fast words to shape deep, poetic thoughtsVictoria Advocate
SHELBY TOWNSHIP: Poetry club sponsors contest for writersShelby Township Source Newspapers
Inside NoVA
all 7 news articles »

Is Poetry Dead? Not if 45 Official Laureates Are Any Indication
New York Times
And for America's state poets laureate, the news cycle has been churning since earlier this month, when Valerie Macon, North Carolina's newly appointed laureate, resigned abruptly after an outcry from several of her predecessors. To the former ...

and more »

All-Women New York Poetry Slam Team Heads to the Nationals
Here And Now
As part of our ongoing “On Stage” series, we turn today to the world of poetry slam, or competitive poetry, which has a growing following around the country. Mahogany Browne, Amy Leon and Katherine George, three members of the Nuyorican Poet's Cafe ...

and more »

DC scores combines soccer, poetry and service
WJLA
WASHINGTON (NewsChannel 8) - On a hot summer afternoon in Washington D.C., a classroom full of grade-school children get a lesson in old-school music as James Brown plays in the background at Marie Reed Elementary school in Adams Morgan.

and more »

Looking for Inspiration? Rejoice, O Mobile Poet!
New York Times
FEAR not, fans of poetry: The app world has not left you behind. Some will even help you write your own poetry. Poetry from the Poetry Foundation, free for iOS and Android, is my favorite way to read poems digitally. It includes thousands of poems ...


Yahoo!7 News

Waratahs moved by Adam Ashley-Cooper's inspirational poetry
Sydney Morning Herald
It was like a scene out of the movie Invictus. After the Waratah's final training session before Saturday's Super 15 final, Adam Ashley-Cooper dropped to a knee with the entire squad huddled around him, arm in arm, and recited a poem he wrote himself.
Waratahs inspired by poetry in ranksThe Australian

all 337 news articles »

Technical.ly

Meet the digital pioneers of 'code poetry'
Technical.ly
One Friday night in April a group of about 30 people descended into the basement of Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village for the first annual NYC Code Poetry Performance Festival. The poems, projected onto a white screen at the back of the room, ...


EDITORIAL: Final thought on poetry
The State
The recent brouhaha over North Carolina's poet laureate has died down, but the objections to Gov. McCrory's choice shouldn't have surprised anyone familiar with the large and lively community of poets here. Poets' expectations about who should hold ...


Writing Center seeks poetry contest entries
Quad City Times
The Midwest Writing Center is taking submissions for its Susan K. Collins Poetry Chapbook Contest through Sept. 30. The winning chapbook will be published by MWC Press and made available for sale. The winner will receive $100 and 15 free copies of the ...

and more »
Google News

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The Valley Of Pain

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Ambiguity and Abstraction in Bob Dylan?s Lyrics

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Four Poems: Grendels Nature...the Racetrack...Counting days...[Now in English and Spanish]

English Version1) Grendel's DivorceYou must know that I do not... Read More

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I get up in the morningAnd want to stay in... Read More

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Eight Poems

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