Friday, 4 May 2018


I wrote this poem for an Open Mic evening with the subject "Deleted".

According to the UN Environment Programme, the Earth is in the midst of a mass extinction. Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the "natural" or "background" rate and, say many biologists, is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65m years ago. Around 15% of mammal species and 11% of bird species are classified as threatened with extinction.


The list, if there were a list,
would shorten every day.
highlight, delete,
every eight minutes, the list we deplete.

Today one hundred and fifty lines will go,
tomorrow two hundred? Who knows?
That range; one fifty to two hundred,
deleted every twenty four hours.

The list is long but finite
Each line a species
and every day - No, every eight minutes
another line's deleted.

Not individuals, species, all of a kind.
Imagine, seven billion people,
Condensed to just one line that says; 'Human'.
In your mind, highlight it, now delete it.

The greatest sadness is that so many lines
never even get highlighted
they're deleted
before they even make the list.

John Carré Buchanan
23 April 2018

If you click on the link below you can listen to me read this poem.


  1. Richard Fleming18 May 2018 at 22:21

    Excellent and original take on the subject, John.

    1. Many thanks Richard, I'm glad you liked it.


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