Anna Gordon Keown was a novelist & poet who is now almost completely forgotten. The introduction to her Collected Poems, published in 1953, was written by Siegfried Sassoon, so she obviously had a reputation in her lifetime (she died in 1957). Looking her up, I find that she was married to Dr Philip Gosse (son of Edmund) & she wrote a comic novel called The Cat who Saw God (1932), about a cat possessed by the Emperor Nero who goes to live with a fussy English spinster. Has anyone read this? It sounds wonderful!
I also discovered that this lovely sonnet, Reported Missing, is often studied in schools in the UK, although this is the first time I’ve come across it.
My thought shall never be that you are dead:
Who laughed so lately in this quiet place.
The dear and deep-eyed humour of that face
Held something ever-living, in Death’s stead.
Scornful I hear the flat things they have said
And all their piteous platitudes of pain.
I laugh! I laugh! — For you will come again –
This heart would never beat if you were dead.
The world’s adrowse in twilight hushfulness,
There’s purple lilac in your little room,
And somewhere out beyond the evening gloom
Small boys are culling summer watercress.
Of these familiar things I have no dread
Being so very sure you are not dead.