Buyer’s Remorse

How long are we allowed to close our eyes
To who produces what our money buys?
How can it be that goods made by a slave
Are justified by how much cash we save?

The cargo ships that crisscross every sea
Are loaded high with human misery,
But products can still be produced in hell
As long as buyers buy what sellers sell.
In Chinese prisons, helpless Falun Gong
(Imprisoned for their faith, they’ve done no wrong)
Are murdered for their lungs or heart or spleen,
New “products” offered on the global scene.
The seller’s crimes become the buyer’s shame;
The buying half must shoulder half the blame.


At the Gates of Heaven

Three angels came down to the heavenly gate;
‘Twas a fine summer day, and they sat down to wait
And to watch the new souls coming up from old Earth,
Where they waited for Peter to measure their worth.
There were tinkers and tailors and seamstresses too,
There were paupers and potentates shuffling through.
There were gypsies and gymnasts and truckers and teachers,
A prince and a pope and a handful of preachers.
Then one angel said, “See that man of the cloth,
I remember him well, how he railed against sloth,
And he raged about dancing and drinking and duty.
I once heard a sermon of his, ‘twas a beauty!
His eyes were afire, and his fist he would pound,
And his voice raised in scorn was a terrible sound!
And he travelled the world telling tales of God’s wrath;
Now, it seems, he shall harvest the fruit of his path.”
So the angels sat watching old Saint Peter look
At the deeds that were listed right there in his book,
While the soul of the preacher stood, sure of his grace,
Full expecting to be welcomed into the place.

But Saint Peter said “Hmm”, and he tilted his head,
And he took the old preacher aside, and he said,
“Well now, Father, I see that you followed the laws,
And I see that you gave your parishioners pause,
And I see that you caused every sinner to quake
When you raised up your voice, and your finger you’d shake.
But I can’t let you pass to that fine land above,
Because Heaven, you see, is built mostly of love,
And the soul that hates sinners is tainted with hate,
So the simple truth is, you won’t get past the Gate.
But the good news is that God is always forgiving,
So we’ll send you back to the land of the living
Where every soul gets every chance it might need
To surrender its anger, to let go of greed,
And to overcome judgment, and ego, and hatred,
And learn to love all the Creator created.”

So off went the soul back to Earth in a blink,
And the angels and Saint Peter traded a wink.
Then the first angel turned to the others beside him
And said, “If he opens his heart, it will guide him,
And when he returns to this harvest of souls
And Saint Peter takes stock of his deeds and his goals,
Then perhaps he’ll move on to that fine land above
Where the bright streets are paved, not with gold, but with love.”


Lorna Davis is a poet who is happily retired and living in California.

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10 Responses

  1. Michael Dashiell

    The leading poem is dark and grim, and well written. It makes an effective defense of those poor souls used for profit. It shows the injustice latent in capitalism like in the novel “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair.

    • Lorna Davis

      The involuntary harvest of organs is indeed dark and grim, and I’m afraid a poem will never do the subject justice, but thank you. And you’re right, the working conditions in US factories in the early 20th century were every bit as bad as today’s Foxconn or Samsung. I wonder how many people realize how much better our lives are because of legislation like the Fair Labor Standards Act. What a different world we would have if our global trade agreements made the improvement of workers’ lives as important as the improvement of profit margins.

  2. John Kolyav

    I enjoyed both the poems, though the first one reminded the terrible situation. Yes, not only the sellers but buyers also are responsible!

  3. Kathy F.

    Great poems! Congratulations for placing second in the Society of Classical Poets 2017 Poetry Competition!

  4. Gleb Zavlanov

    “The seller’s crimes become the buyer’s shame;
    The buying half must shoulder half the blame.”

    I really like this ending couplet. It wraps up the poem in a succinct and powerful way. Great job!

    • Lorna Davis

      Thank you. I had a few options for that ending couplet, and finally them aloud to my daughter. When I read this set, it was like a bell ringing. We both said “that one!” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if just the right set of words could actually create change in the world.

  5. David Watt

    Congratulations Lorna on your placing in the Friends of Falun Gong Poetry Contest! For me the final couplet, in particular, is tremendous and makes “Buyer’s Remorse” deserving of recognition.


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