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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The Denver Post
Laila Alawa didn't expect much when Amal Kassir walked onstage to perform spoken-word poetry at Wellesley College. "She looks like a typical Muslim girl, very calm and very sweet," said Alawa, a Muslim American activist and blogger. "I was honestly ...


SFGate

Streep, Fey among readers at poetry gala
SFGate
"It was a no-brainer," the actor said Thursday night after he was among a dozen readers at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall for the 12th annual "Poetry & the Creative Mind," an all-star celebration of National Poetry Month presented by the Academy of ...

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seattlepi.com (blog)
From a collection of 47 issues of Poetry Magazine, all featuring the poet Billy Collins as a contributor, to the first volume, 12 issues, of the seminal literary magazine The Poetry Review published in 1912/13 here's 10 with poetry in the title ...


Our poetry winners
Washington Post
Meet the poets. Our winning poets will receive a KidsPost T-shirt and other goodies, a National Poetry Month poster and a copy of “Poem in Your Pocket for Young Readers,” courtesy of the Academy of American Poets, the organization that started National ...


Edward Hirsch on the 'soul-making activity' of poetry
Washington Post (blog)
The celebrated poet and teacher Edward Hirsch spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday night about “Gabriel,” his upcoming book about the death of his 22-year-old son. His comments came toward the end of “The Life of a Poet,” a presentation at the ...

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Center for Literature and Theatre promotes Spanish poetry contest
MiamiHerald.com
The submission period is just about here for the Paz Poetry Prize, a collaboration between Miami Dade College's Center for Literature and Theatre and The National Poetry Series. The prize will be awarded to a previously unpublished poetry book in ...


CBA: Power of Poetry
WAVY-TV
PORTSMOUTH, VA. (WAVY) – April is National Poetry Month and a good time to reflect on the power of poetry. At Chesapeake Bay Academy, upper school students are encouraged to express their feelings and emotions through poetry. Synnika Lofton, Upper ...


Education Week News

What's Wrong With Poetry Books for Children: A Teacher's Lament
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Take a perennial favorite, Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends. Because poetry lends itself to being read aloud, most teachers of young children (myself included) keep a copy of this beloved book on a shelf by the daily schedule, cover faced out ...
Why Poetry MattersHuffington Post
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Poetry Pairing | 'The Salutation'
New York Times (blog)
Visit the Poetry Pairings page to find out more about our collaboration with the Poetry Foundation, and to read ideas for using any week's pairing for teaching and learning. Poetry Pairings, Poetry Pairings. Comments are moderated. FAQ ». Submit ...


Poetry reading: Li-Young Lee continues to search for home
Salt Lake Tribune
"In the city, I see the human thumbprint on everything," says poet Li-Young Lee, who lives in Chicago. "I get tired of the species-specificity, human faces on advertising … it is the most shallow thing — human beings as consumers — trade and ...

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