The steed of the Valley of Love is pain

You have no idea what rages inside me, but know this:
I will steal the breath from your throat,
char you to the bone
and flay you down to your still-beating heart;
I will kiss your eyes wide open,
lift your palm to my lips and breathe there a prayer
and sing you a song that you will never have heard
yet have known since you first drew breath.

I will break you just to make you
and in making you may lose you,
but if I do, it will be you who is lost.
If you hate me when I am done
I would understand,
but I promise you this if you do not,
your understanding will all be your own.

The title of this poem is a direct reference to The Seven Valleys, Bahá’u’lláh’s beautiful and mystical explanation of the soul’s development towards complete detachment from the trappings of this world and unity with the Will of His Messenger. There, in the section “The Valley of Love,” He states: The steed of this Valley is pain…

Thank you for reading The steed of the Valley of Love is pain. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken in my home, in Putnam, Connecticut, and is the reflection of our kitchen light in my open, but powered off laptop screen. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Photograph, poem, and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Work 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is © John Etheridge, The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.


Filed under Poetry

3 responses to “The steed of the Valley of Love is pain

  1. I really love your photo! And your writing is as ever excellent. I need to read your reference for better context as my take was maybe different without having this as a basis for the piece. Thanks for sharing.