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Thursday, 8 November, 2001, 09:05 GMT
Text me a poem
Sample text message poetry
Poetry has the power to soothe a furrowed brow
By BBC News Online technology correspondent Mark Ward

Nothing symbolises progress so much as the mobile phone.

This portable gadget that lets people reach you almost everywhere underscores the fact that we live in a world that never sleeps, and that you are on always on call.

But now the mobile is becoming the bearer of gentler tidings, a soother of furrowed brows and perhaps an antidote to some of the stress it engenders.

Because now you can enjoy a moment of pause and reflection in your hectic schedule by signing up to a service that will send you a text message containing a short, whimsical poem every working day.

Only reflect

The poem-me service has been jointly developed by published poet Fredrik Lloyd and producer Dahlan Lassalle.

Rose petals filled with ounces of snow bend meekly. Saints sold for less beauty

Fredrik Lloyd
The idea to start the service came to Mr Lassalle when Mr Lloyd spontaneously sent him a poem via the short message service (SMS) available on most mobile phones.

Mr Lassalle said the pair had been friends for more than 30 years, and he had always been a fan of his friend's work, but the SMS poem had particular power because it arrived at a very busy time and forced him to stop and reflect for a moment.

"I find a number of his poems particularly thought-provoking, others create a small smile," he said. "But all of them create a moment of repose."

Many busy people would welcome a chance to pause and think of something other than work, said Mr Lassalle.

Works to order

Mobile phone text messages are hugely popular. In the UK alone, over a billion are now sent every month.

Fields fell apart, separated by the shallow breathing of a damaged fence

Fredrik Lloyd
Many of Mr Lloyd's works are single line poems, thoughts or epigrams that can easily be shoe-horned into the cramped SMS format. Single SMS messages can be a maximum of 160 characters long.

Mr Lassalle said the poet was used to producing works to order and had no problems creating enough poems to keep subscribers amused and entranced.

A subscription for one month's worth of SMS poems costs 4, while a three month supply can be bought for 10.

Mr Lassalle said the service had been launched in late October and had so far garnered 50 subscribers, but he said he expected it to take a while to build up a following.

Stressed workers in need of a dose of repose can subscribe via the website.

See also:

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