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