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:


Sioux Falls Argus Leader

Sidewalks a platform for poetry
Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Bev Oliver shows off the rubber mold Tuesday used to imprint a poem in the concrete sidewalk at Seventh Street and Summit Avenue as part of a project she led. TOP: Poem imprinted in the concrete as seen on Tuesday. (Photo: Photos by Elisha Page / Argus ...


The Guardian

Poetry Brothel puts the bawd in bard
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She calls herself a poetry whore, and I have paid for her company. For the next 10 minutes or so, she will read me her verses, converse with me, entertain me. Between sheer curtains I can see several other transactions unfolding around us, hear stanzas ...


Downtown Express

Poetry in the souls of those who least expect it
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BY PUMA PERL | I couldn't be happier to report that the spirit of discovery is alive and well as demonstrated by the Rocky Presents shows, and that a new generation is learning that poetry lives on in the streets, and in the hearts and souls of those ...

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NPR (blog)

Book News: Remembering Poet Galway Kinnell, Whose Song Said Everything
NPR (blog)
When Galway Kinnell accepted the post of Vermont's State Poet in 1989, the honor didn't come without a bit of polite disagreement. No writer had occupied the post since Robert Frost more than 25 years earlier, and with the revival came also a desire ...
Former state poet Galway Kinnell diesBurlingtonFreePress.com
Galway Kinnell, Plain-Spoken Poet, Is Dead at 87New York Times
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Galway Kinnell Dies At 87Huffington Post
Los Angeles Times
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Poetry's ambassador
Yadkin Ripple
After engaging with contemporary poetry, Griffin said he decided he wanted to try writing some poetry of his own. He said the process was harder than he first imagined, but still something he thoroughly enjoys. He keeps a notebook with him all the time ...


Professor shares new poetry book
Observer Online
Tuesday evening, Saint Mary's department of business administration and economics hosted a poetry reading honoring the poetry of Dr. Jerome McElroy, professor of economics. McElroy read from his new chapbook, titled “Hidden Graces.” Professor ...


Unique poetry workshop offered Saturday
Quad-Cities Online
Mr. Dougherty recently performed at the Best American Poetry 2014 release party at The New School in New York City. His work was included in the most recent edition of the annual Best American Poetry anthology. In Saturday's workshop, students will ...

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HotNewHipHop

Handwritten Poetry From A 17-Year Old Tupac Surfaces
HotNewHipHop
Here's a good way to celebrate Throwback Thursday. Today Noisey has unearthed some previously unreleased handwritten poetry from the legendary Tupac, written before his rise to fame, when he was just 17-years old. The rapper's first manager (who is ...

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Statesman Journal

Art inspired by William Stafford's poetry on exhibit
Statesman Journal
Artists In Action, in cooperation with the Mid-Valley Poetry Society, will sponsor a multimedia exhibit of art inspired by William Stafford's poetry Nov. 5-22 at the Salem Arts Building, room 180, 155 Liberty St. NE. There will be a reception and ...
William Stafford Favorite Poem Project #2WilliametteLive.com

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Opelousas Daily World

Poet shares the joy of the spoken word with students
Opelousas Daily World
Opelousas High School recently hosted Alexis “Poetic Soul” Johnson to share the joys of writing and the spoken word. Johnson is the former poetry slam champion from Lafayette who presented at the International World Poetry Slam in 2009 and 2010.
Young Slam Poet Takes Aim At Substandard TeachingKERA News

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