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:


NPR

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WTOP

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National Post

Poetry is going extinct, government data show
Washington Post (blog)
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Springfield News-Leader

Students' poetry on display at Springfield Art Museum
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Because these poems were among the students' finest literary expressions that semester, I contacted Sarah Buhr, the museum's curator, about displaying this poetry on the walls to accompany the art works that inspired the students' literary art.


West Virginia poet laureate discusses poetry, words and everyday life
Charleston Gazette
While many in attendance Sunday afternoon expected to hear the poetry that he is known for, Harshman's lecture -- titled “What Holds Us Together” -- was filled with as much cultural reflection as it was art. Harshman said he constantly thinks of the ...


Irish Times

Paul McMahon wins €2000 Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize
Irish Times
The 2015 Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize has been awarded to Paul McMahon for his poem Tom's Pouch of Cure-Stones, by a panel of judges chaired by the Poet Laureate, Carol Anne Duffy. The award is worth £2,000. Born and brought up in Belfast, McMahon ...
The Young Romantics poem of the year 2015The Guardian

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Montgomery Advertiser

Pulitzer-nominated poet to give reading at AUM
Montgomery Advertiser
Pulitzer-nominated poet Maurice Manning will have a poetry reading at Auburn Montgomery on Tuesday as part of the university's celebration of poetry month. The event, which is free to the public, will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in 109 Goodwyn Hall at ...


NBCNews.com

National Poetry Month: Asian-American Poets to Watch
NBCNews.com
April is National Poetry Month and National Poetry Writing Month, sparking poetry readings, new poetry books, challenges to write thirty poems in thirty days, people carrying poems in their pockets to share, and, of course, a multitude of poetry ...
April is time to celebrate and share poetryTallahassee.com
Letter: How could we be averse to Poem in Your Pocket Day?NJ.com

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The Week In Data: Muslims, Comic Books And Poetry
FiveThirtyEight
Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 10.14.09 AM. Haiku, loku: April is national poetry month, but according to the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, only about 7 percent of Americans say they've read poetry at some time in the past year. That makes ...


www.worldbulletin.net

Spring brings poetry season to Afghanistan
www.worldbulletin.net
The poetry evenings, known as Mushaira, are common in Afghanistan but they have a different character in every region, where they are named after the specific region's iconic features; maybe a famous flower of fruit, or its own distinct geographical ...

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