Anna Keown's poem "Reported Missing" is addressed to a World War One soldier by a first-person narrator who is desperately hopeful that he isn't dead. Here's the poem in full:
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.
What relation is the soldier to the narrator? A son? A husband? A lover? Something else?
Answers based either on a close reading of the poem itself or on outside information, e.g. about Keown's own life and family, would both be welcome.