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.

Thirty-Five

As quick as you fell ill, quickly you recover;

A quip returned, a memory uncovered.

Saline drip, subcut, a new route discovered.

You slip into the railed bed, slide under covers.

Outside Glasgow Royal – snow – a thin sheet.

Inside your wit, wisdom makes my heart swell –

Bigger than your water-retaining feet.

Without this love, nothing could ever be well.

A gift the heart wrapped early in this life.

The more you give the more you have to cherish.

If I could offer you my veins, I’d gladly use a knife.

At times it seems if you go, I too will perish.

A mould broke made a new mother of you.

Blood, water, sealed with a kiss: all true

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

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.

Themes
Glossary

Explore Similar Poems

By similar tags

Featured in the archive

Close