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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Bob Dylan's Lyrics, Poetry, and Prose Showcased at Chicago's American Writers Museum  Mental FlossDylan's personal copy of "The Catcher in the Rye" is one of the rare items on display. In it, he wrote notes and drew doodles.
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Carroll County student takes first place in regional poetry competition  Carroll County TimesThe Poetry Out Loud competition held annually encourages students to memorize and perform great poems. Gerstell Academy student Kate Maerten took home ...
300 Million Poets: Amateur Poetry and Our Imminent Reconnection to the Land  ResilienceThe “poetry of everyday life” -- amateur poetry written every day by common people; personal reflections written and shared with family and neighbors,
Love, poetry and pan-Arabism: The broken dream of Balqis and Nizar  Middle East EyeEvery year, Arab scholars commemorate the 1981 assassination of Balqis al-Rawi, wife of poet Nizar Qabbani. He stopped writing about love - and the Arab ...
Yale ‘genius grant’ winner Claudia Rankine to open Sunken Garden Poetry Festival - Hartford Courant  Hartford CourantPoet Claudia Rankine, the MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” winner who teaches poetry at Yale, will launch the 27th annual Sunken Garden Poetry Festival ...
Award-Winning Poet Terrance Hayes to Give Reading at Trinity Next Week  San Antonio CurrentTwo-time National Book Award winner and MacArthur fellow Terrance Hayes will be in San Antonio next week for a few events. On Thursday, February 28,...
Sometimes, poetry is the best therapy I can find  The Globe and MailThe best poetry acts as a compass for life's priorities, Frank Buchar writes. It offers insights to eclipse doubt – on business, on timing and on living life to its fullest.
Huckleberries: CdA’s propagator of poetry pens poems that are pure Montana  The Spokesman-ReviewRoger Dunsmore has spent the six years in his adopted hometown of Coeur d'Alene promoting the work of other poets. Dunsmore?
Teachers promise to print book of their poetry motivates Deltona High students  Daytona Beach News-JournalRipping the wrapping paper from the packages in front of them, students in Hazel Sparrow's intensive reading class at Deltona High began to grin once they ...
Crawford: Remembering a poet who wrote in the 'vernacular of humanity'  Greenville NewsKatherine Scott Crawford writes about recently deceased poet Mary Oliver.
Professor Charles Bernstein awarded Yale's 2019 Bollingen Prize for Poetry  Penn: Office of University CommunicationsCharles Bernstein is the 51st poet to be honored with the biennial prize, one of the most prestigious given to American writers. Bernstein's latest collection ...
James K Baxter: venerated poet's letters about marital rape rock New Zealand  The GuardianCollection of writings just released includes references to rape of then-wife Jackie Sturm, herself an acclaimed poet and author.
GL Theater Presents Poetry Reading  wvdispatch.comThe Greenwood Lake Theater will present a poetry reading at the Village Buzz Café, located at 91 Windermere Ave. in Greenwood Lake, on Sun., Mar. 3.
Valentino brings poetry to Paris with feast of flowers  ReutersPARIS (Reuters) - Italian fashion label Valentino created a dreamlike ode to spring on the catwalk in Paris on Wednesday, as models appeared to float down the ...
Local poet Brandon Amico awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship  Mountain XpressToday, the National Endowment for the Arts announced that Brandon Amico is one of 35 poets who will receive an FY 2019 Creative Writing Fellowship of ...
ASU acquires Holocaust poetry, artist's miniature book collection  Arizona State UniversityA collection of miniature artist's books and a limited-edition English translation of poetry by a child Holocaust victim are now available for reading and viewing at ...
Poetry By Cher: 'Beto Beats...Blubber Bellied, Bullying, Blowhard' Trump  BreitbartCher shared a strange poem with her social media followers, fantasizing about Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke defeating President Trump in the 2020 election.
Poet's personality jumps off pages at publication party  Malibu Surfside NewsFlorence Weinberger steps up to the microphone Feb. 10 at Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue to recite works from her newest poetry collection, “Ghost ...
Hannibal Arts Council announces 2019 NEMO Poetry Recitation Champion  Hannibal.netLogan Markley, a senior at Palmyra High School, was named the 2019 Northeast Missouri Poetry Out Loud Regional Champion at the regional finals held ...
Homage to Bosnian national poet  Daily SabahThe Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) Department of Cultural Affairs and the Writers Union of Turkey (TYB) have organized an homage to professor ...
How poetry and art are helping to cure addiction  BBC NewsA recovery programme has been set up to help former drug and alcohol addicts through spoken word and poetry.
Feb. 7, Arts and Entertainment: Poet laureate enjoys first year  Vallejo Times HeraldD.L. Lang is the first to agree it is good to be queen. Actually, not quite queen. But poet laureate isn't a bad start. “It's changed my life,” Lang said. “It's changed ...
Baylor English Professor and Poet Receives One of New Zealand's Leading National Literary Awards  Baylor UniversityGrimshaw Sargeson Fellowship will allow Chloe Honum, Ph.D., to research and write during four-month residence at Sargeson Centre in Auckland.
Padraic Fiacc: Tributes after Belfast poet dies  BBC NewsTributes have been paid to Belfast poet Padraic Fiacc after he died aged 94. Irish President Michael D Higgins was among those who praised his work.
President pays tribute to poet Padraic Fiacc, who has died aged 94  The Irish TimesGerald Dawe salutes a gifted but troubled Troubles poet.
Ocean City Poetry Reading With Mark Soifer Postponed  Ocean City, NJ PatchOcean City Poetry Reading With Soifer Postponed - Ocean City, NJ - The reading will be postponed for a later date to be determined.
Daily Deals: NeWest Press acquires poetry collection from Meredith Quartermain, thriller from Mark Lisac  Quill & QuireNeWest Press general manager Matt Bowes has acquired world rights to Meredith Quartermain's Lullabies in the Real World. The poetry collection is themed ...
‘The Poetry of Jazz,’ redux. U.S. Poet Laureate’s posthumous poetry jazz mashup now in Vol. 2  Fresno Bee'The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two” is the second posthumous release from the late U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine and Fresno jazz composer Benjamin Boone.
Nicaraguan poet-priest Cardenal leaves hospital, thanks pope  Washington PostRenowned Nicaraguan poet and priest Ernesto Cardenal has been released from a hospital two weeks after he entered for treatment for an infection that ...
Maryland's 86-Year-Old Poet Laureate Is A Buddhist, Mother, Navy Wife And Lifelong Badass  WAMU 88.5Grace Cavalieri sees herself as a protector of language's beauty in dark times. She became Maryland's poet laureate in December.
Feature: 80-year-old poet in Afghanistan's public library - Xinhua | English.news.cn  Xinhuaby Farid Behbud. KABUL, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Eighty-year-old Afghan poet and writer Haidari Wojudi who has spent most of his life as a government official, can ...
Davis Arts Center poetry series features ‘ladies of the knight’  Daily DemocratThis February the Davis Arts Center Poetry Series program will feature Poetry Overturned – Ladies of the Knight as well as an open mic. The free reading is ...
The rhythm of democracy: Philadelphia poet wins Bollingen prize  WHYYA poet who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia has been awarded America's top prize for poetry – the Bollingen Prize is going to Charles ...

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