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.
In a wasted time, it’s only when I sleep
that all my senses come awake. In the wake
of you, let day not break. Let me keep
the scent, the weight, the bright of you, take
the countless hours and count them all night through
till that time comes when you come to the door
of dreams, carrying oranges that cast a glow
up into your face. Greedy for more
than the gift of seeing you, I lean in to taste
the colour, kiss it off your offered mouth.
For this, for this, I fall asleep in haste,
willing to fall for the trick that tells the truth
that even your shade makes darkest absence bright,
that shadows live wherever there is light.
from On Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A Poets’ Celebration edited by Hannah Crawforth & Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Bloomsbury, 2016), © Imtiaz Dharker, used by permission of the author