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:


The Star-Ledger

Dodge Poetry Festival: 5 tips on writing from former poet laureate Billy Collins
The Star-Ledger
NEWARK — Billy Collins has climbed to the top the U.S. poetry scene, serving as the U.S. poet laureate from 2001 until 2003. Over the course of his career he has won numerous awards from being named Poet of the year from Poetry magazine to winning the ...
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NJ.com

At Dodge Poetry Festival, veterans and new writers take center stage
NJ.com
Mcpherson was one dozens of poets--including poet laureates and new writers--reciting their work at the 15th biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival today in Newark. The poets performed in front of a diverse audiences, from local school groups to ...
Poetry takes center stage at Dodge festival in Newark, NJNewsworks.org
Pinsky on poetry: Teachers should 'do no harm,' from Dodge FestMorristown Green
Dodge Poetry Festival to pay tribute to Amiri BarakaThe Star-Ledger
Huffington Post
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Mirror.co.uk

Man gets 8 years for stabbing friend in drunk argument over poetry
New York Daily News
Russians take their poetry seriously. A 53-year-old lover of romantic verse has been sentenced to eight years for stabbing a friend to death in a drunken argument over literary forms, the Daily Telegraph reported. The former teacher had gone to meet a ...
Poetry fan stabbed book loving friend during argument over which genre was ...Mirror.co.uk
Poetry lover stabbed prose fan after argument over which literary genre was betterMetro

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New Hampshire Public Radio

Poetry Rules the Aspen Off-Season
Aspen Daily News
The Aspen Poets' Society has provided a venue for poets and poetry-lovers to convene since 2007. Simply providing an open venue to present and take in works was actually a significant moment for our valley's poets when Lisa Max Zimet and Kim Nuzzo ...
The Real Dead Poets SocietyNew Hampshire Public Radio

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Art, poetry reception for Smith siblings Nov. 9
Wicked Local Melrose
Art Reception and Poetry with Sydney Smith and Wendell Smith, 2 to 4 p.m.. Enjoy art and refreshments at the reception for local artist Sydney Smith, whose artwork will be exhibited on our walls during the month of November. At the reception, Wendell ...

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Telegraph.co.uk

Russian poetry lover gets 8 years for murder of prose fan
Telegraph.co.uk
"During the drinking, the two men began an argument over which literary genre is more important, poetry or prose," said a spokesman for the regional investigative committee. "The owner of the home argued that prose is the real literature, while his ...


Houston Chronicle

With "Celebration," actor showcases famed dramatist Pinter as unsung poet
Houston Chronicle
Rather, "A Celebration of Harold Pinter," the solo show Sands will perform Monday at the Alley Theatre, chiefly concerns itself with Pinter in his less-familiar guise as poet - and in the process, reveals a great deal more of the Nobel Prize-winning ...


Down Syndrome: Poetry, Painting, Perspective
Huffington Post
At the poetry site I manage, we have delved into the beauty of the eyes of those who live with Down syndrome--not the literal eyes, but the ways of seeing. It is a hard beauty at times, a poetry of injury. Overall, we are not trying to definitively ...


RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

In Washington, Poetry Diplomacy With Iran
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
In an October 23 keynote speech on the status of nuclear negotiations with Iran, U.S. chief nuclear negotiator Wendy Sherman cited a verse by the great Persian poet Saadi. “Have patience; all things are difficult before they become easy,” Sherman, U.S. ...

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Fond du Lac Reporter

Success: Love of FDL leads Wehner the arts
Fond du Lac Reporter
Mary Wehner is known in Fond du Lac for her enthusiasm in the arts community. A poet, painter and jazz enthusiast, she has lent her hand to many organizations both local and statewide, and has worked in a variety of fields. “I think sometimes that I've ...

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