GIBBONS, STELLA (1902-1989)
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF HER POEM 'WRIT IN WATER', sub-titled 'IN MEMORY OF JOHN KEATS', signed ('Stella Gibbons'), 15 lines, 1 page, small quarto, dated 12 January 1980
What a stronger rune to be written in?
Seething, or locked in arcane permafrost...
Sweet boy, bright star eclipsed at twenty-five,
Your genius erred in thinking water humble -
Rivers shall run while Earth herself's alive;
Iron rust. Stone crumble.
Stella Gibbons is best known for her book Cold Comfort Farm. The present poem was not published by her, but appears in Occasional Poets, edited by Peter Adams, 1986; it is said to be one of her last and is based on Keats's self-penned epitaph 'Here Lies One whose Name was writ in Water.' No manuscripts by Stella Gibbons have appeared at auction. No poetical manuscripts by her are listed in Location Register of Twentieth-Century Literary Manuscripts and Letters, 2 volumes, 1988.