By Ukee Washington

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  In these tough times, people who need a healing message can now get it with a simple phone call. 2021 has already brought more than its share of sadness and stress with COVID still out of control and an armed attack on the Capitol.

Now a hotline is providing soothing words for the soul. This is the Healing Verse Philly Poetry Line, started by Trapeta Mayson, the current Philadelphia poet laureate.

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“We know these are very challenging and difficult times and in no way is Healing Verse intended to make all that better, but what it is intended to do is to just to offer respite and offer some hope,” Mayson said.

This is part of Mayson’s tenure as the latest city poet laureate. Every Monday, the hotline will have a new poem by a local artist.

“That’s gonna be something affirming, hopeful, positive,” Mayson said.

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And these are not just poems. The calls include information about mental health resources.

The Poetry Line opened the first Monday of 2021. Mayson said the response has been amazing. People are already posting thank yous.

“There are others who say they have the number on their phone and they call it every day,” Mayson said.

Mayson is also working on a future project, Rain Poetry Art. Hidden poems will be painted in public areas around the city, becoming visible only when wet. For now, rain or shine, the Poetry Line is there, with a free — and priceless — message every Monday.

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That is beautiful. The number for the poetry line is 1-855-POEM-R-X-2.

Ukee Washington