I went back to the hospice today. I cycle up there with my poems in my backpack, a peripatetic bard. One of the men I'd met during my time there last year had died, on Christmas Day. I feel sad. Then I remember his suffering and wonder about words like release and relief, though perhaps I am just searching for comfort for myself.

The atmosphere is as ever upbeat, and, I sense, genuinely so. I ask for favourite words; "smile", "contentment", "lovable", "flowers" come the replies. Still I search for the shadows, for the demons, for the hurt, shoved into the corners, such is my habit. Death lingers, I feel certain, and not all ghosts are benign.