Poem introduction

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.


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

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1The Waiting Lists

2Baby Lazarus

3The Tweed Hat Dream

4Brendon Gallacher

5Old Tongue

6My Grandmother

7In My Country

8In the Pullman

9The Red Graveyard

10Somebody Else



13Late Love

14Glen Strathfarrar

15The Spare Room

16There's Trouble for Maw Broon




20Gone With the Wind



23Things Fall Apart

24A White African Dress


26George Square

27The Shoes of Dead Comrades

28I Kin See Richt Thru My Mither

29High Land

30Old Aberdeen

31Dream Pier



34Moon Mask

35Life Mask