The British Council has supported these recordings as part of the Shakespeare Lives in 2016 programme celebrating the work of William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death.


When I do count the clock that tells the time

The clocks change, and there’s suddenly the shock

of walking home in darkness, seeing lights

inside the windows, thinking Who lives there?

Whose books are those? Whose ornaments? Who chose

that purple orchid flowering on that shelf?

And then remembering or better still

accepting: me, I live there, me with you

and yes of course my key fits in the lock.

At which another suddenly: the sound

of you already back and practicing.

I recognise it. Brahms; Two Rhapsodies;

the notes that stayed invisible all day

sweep in like birds through newly-blackened air

and land in time to sing before they sleep.

from On Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A Poets’ Celebration edited by Hannah Crawforth & Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Bloomsbury, 2016), © Andrew Motion 2016, used by permission of the author

Andrew Motion in the Poetry Store

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