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:

In The News:

Writers, Poets Celebrate #ActualAsianPoets on National Poetry Day
In celebration of National Poetry Day, the site Literary Hub asked contemporary poets to share how some of their favorite Asian or Asian-American poets have shaped and influenced their own literary work. Under the hashtag #ActualAsianPoets, 35 writers ...

The Guardian

Win a set of Puffin Poetry books
The Guardian
Puffin Poetry are re-launching some of their classic collections – by poets such as Michael Rosen, Benjamin Zephaniah and Spike Milligan – as well as some brand new poems by Roger McGough. For your chance to win a full set of six books, enter here.

Alaska Public Radio Network

Cleveland teen receives prestigious poetry honor
“Today is about celebrating these extraordinary young people, but it's also about bringing the power of poetry to kids across the country,” First Lady Obama, Honorary Chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, said as she ...
Alaskan girl receives White House honor, appointment as poetry 'ambassador'Alaska Public Radio Network
N.J. student poet honored by Michelle Obama at White
Poetry is the key to positivity for National Student PoetPBS NewsHour
PR Newswire (press release) -Northwest Arkansas News
all 74 news articles »


Put On The Spot, These Nashville Writers Produce 'Poetry On Demand'
It's called “poetry on demand.” A group of writers hang out at events, including this weekend's Southern Festival of Books, and quickly write poems based on stories shared from passers-by. Whoever wanders up answers a few questions and then the poets ...

What happens on National Poetry Day?
“Make like a poet,” urge the organisers of National Poetry Day, the “annual mass celebration of poetry and all things poetical” which will sweep the country tomorrow. Specifically, they're suggesting that we live, speak, love, think, dream and act like ...
Poetry secrets: How to read a poem aloudThe Guardian
Poets and professors pick 8 influential poems to celebrate National Poetry DayNew York Daily News
Narrative Matters: Poetry Meets Health CareHealth Affairs (blog)
The Guardian (blog) -The Herald Argus
all 43 news articles »

Andrew Marr praises Wayne Rooney's love of poetry as he gushes over ...
Marr said: "We haven't actually seen that great modern Manchester poet's work. "What we do know is that he writes poems to Coleen and that is an admirable thing, I think everyone should write poems to their spouses, lovers, partners and children. I ...

and more »

Bowling Green Daily News

Professor's poetry collection based on experiences
Bowling Green Daily News
Connecting with the other side of things is the theme Olmsted takes for her book of poetry which spans two other sections: “Ways of Touching” and “Tree Forms.” The first section explores how sensory experience can lead to truth, and the second was ...

The Guardian

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2015 - read the winning poems
The Guardian
Magnus Dixon, one of the 15 overall winners of the Foyle Young Poets. The top 15 winners are invited to attend a week's residential creative writing course at a prestigious Arvon centre or receive a poet residency in their school. Photograph: The ...
Fifteen-year-old wins poetry hat-trickBBC News

all 3 news articles »


Poetry in Motion: Athens Public Transit Features Local Verse
On the Bus is a new program that merges public transportation and poetry, featuring typographic interpretations of poems on the side of a city bus and continues inside on the windows. The design team — accompanied by a representative of Athens Public ...

and more »

Daljit Nagra becomes first poet in residence for Radio 4
"What excites me most is the chance to give exposure to my beloved art form of poetry; I will take part in discussions about the latest issues concerning poetry but most of all I am thrilled to be given the role of curator for the 90-year-old poetry ...
Roger McGough: Publishers should 'take a chance on poetry'BBC News
The white privilege of British poetry is getting worseThe Conversation UK
The Northern Poetry Library makes the region a hotbed of verseChronicleLive

all 15 news articles »
Google News

Lifes Too Short

Time goes by to quickly to hold your feelings inside... Read More

It Was Not Me

It was not me as I am now. It was... Read More

Four Poems: Harvest of Apoplectic Horses [Katrinas Pathway]

Four Poems: Katrina's PathwayHarvest of Apoplectic Horses ((Dedicated to: Katrina))... Read More

Spell of the Andes: (in English and Spanish)

Note: written 4-15-05, while driving through the Andes of Peru,... Read More

Savage Nature: The Life of Ted Hughes

One of the most important poets of the post-war period,... Read More

Anne Bradstreet, To My Dear and Loving Husband, A Discussion

"To My Dear and Loving Husband" was written by America's... Read More

You Lost Your Last Gamble and Me

I will never think twice nor will I roll the... Read More

Life is a Fantasy

LIFE IS A FANTASY!A pink-eyed rabbit, fuzzy whiteHops in bedrooms... Read More

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: A Discussion of How Do I Love Thee?

"How Do I Love Thee?" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning was... Read More

Commuting Hell!

It's dark, it's cold, its' just six thirty,thoughts of sleep... Read More

Tsunami Day

A Poem - By Lorraine KemberIt was a day like... Read More

Five Poems

Poems have different cores, or so I believe, and can... Read More

Mechanical Poetry - Part Three

Have you ever read the lyrics of a Simon and... Read More

Tale of the Brick Maker, of San Jeronimo, Peru [In English and Spanish]

Tale of the Brick Maker, Of San Jernimo, Peru... Read More

The Game of Life

When your life becomes unbearable And the light of... Read More

Arizona Blue--Gunfighter: The Wolves Nest [Chapter One of Seven: The North]

[Episode Five]Arizona Blue-GunfighterThe Wolves Nest-in the North[Episode Five]Northern Minnesota Area?Winter... Read More

Because of You

You are to me my lifeline my security. That scares... Read More

A Dose of Laughter

I'm not well. Can't you tell? Kinda low, so,... Read More

The Valley Of Pain

We were exiled from the Garden of Eden. Its... Read More

Preserving Dignity

No one should have to beg or crawl before humanity.... Read More

Cruel World

Azra, Azra, Wake up Azra. Wake up Azra, It is... Read More

A Different Place...

I wish we had met 20 years ago... A different... Read More

Beautiful Dreamer, Stephen Foster, Americas First Folk Song Writer

"Beautiful Dreamer" was written by Stephen Foster just before his... Read More

Passion and Poetry, and Life

Ironically, the passion that can neutralize the repulsion for difficulties... Read More

Since Youve Been Gone...

My life has changedin so so many waysIt seems to... Read More