The residency is coming to an end. My visits to the various units are tailing off and I am beginning to collate the poetry. I have many and various feelings. In the past I have often been plagued by the question, could I have done better? More? However, I am trying to do things differently these days, I have done what I was capable of doing at the time. The effects may have been small, but then I am small in the general scheme of things and in terms of the big issues of life and death.

Before I leave, a nurse reminds me that words - my words - can be powerful, in this case in a negative way. They have obviously inadvertently salted a sore wound. The healer in me is sorry for that, though the artist knows that it is not necessarily my place to always seek to soothe.

Back at home, I look at the poetry and am pleased by some of it. An essence - of a person, an experience - has been captured, perhaps, at times, imperfectly, yet it is there. I would like time to mull and savour, only the life of a jobbing writer hardly allows it. The academic year is gearing up and already I am being sucked into a different rhythm of co-ordination, preparation, organisation.

Course recruitment worries are paramount. The Government in its non-wisdom has once again changed the funding guidelines. It has cut money for mature students who already have degrees, paying no heed to how old the degree might be. Nor to people's need to retrain or their desire to follow, at last, after a lifetime of graft, a long held dream to do something other than what they thought they wanted to do at twenty years old.

And what about my dreams? Last year, for the first time since leaving London, I had some financial security, even though I earned less than I did on leaving university over two decades ago. Now, once again, that is on the skids.