Wednesday, 6 March 2013

different voices

I was down at the health centre the other day (routine blood test, blah) and found that they'd installed a new telly screen thing that played public information films about giving up smoking and not driving when you're tired. It also made announcements, calling patients to their appointments. Where previously the Tannoy system had the individual doctors mumbling self-effacingly into their microphones ("was that my name? I'm sure it sounded a bit like it...") or bellowing, as was their wont, there is now a cut-and-paste computer voice thing that does its best to read the patients' and doctors' names in English well-wrought.

All very entertaining it was too.

It got me thinking of other uses for this sort of software, and so I tried this:

  • Send a piece of poetry as a text message to my land-line number
  • Record the result when the message arrives

And here is the result; the closing lines of Carol Ann Duffy's Prayer. Enjoy.

Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.

Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.

Pray for us now. Grade 1 piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child's name as though they named their loss.

Darkness outside. Inside, the radio's prayer -
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre.