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John Barnabas Leith  

poet, U.K.

Photograph by Sean Hinton.


Going down the motorway towards Reading this
To the right
Light over Theale,
Like limpid water, floating with clouds,
And washing gently around Theale church
And its skirting houses.
Smoke had sooted the underbellies of the
Touched them with grey.

John Barnabas Leith (1992), U.K.

Arts Dialogue, October 2001, page 15


John Barnabas Leith was born in Minehead in the West Country of England in the cold winter of 1947.
Having been educated in the British Public School system, he became a Baháší in 1966 and has been deeply involved in Baháší life ever since.
He has a short attention span and has had a range of jobs: trainee accountant, teacher of English and History, an alcoholism counsellor in the Shetland Isles, a publisher, magazine editor, and graphic designer.
He is currently the Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahášís of the UK. Married for over 30 years, he has three grown-up children and two grandchildren.

Writing poetry is squeezed into a busy life.


It was Hastings, she said,
On the sea front
In the spray and daggers of a
stabbing gale.
Or was it in the summer hullabaloo
Of students and discos?
I was sixteen then,
Climbing the cliff path.
I could have gone up by the railway
But I was young.
Fierce desire drove me up
Into the sun and cloudless sky above

It was Hastings, she said,
On the covered promenade,
That I searched and waited for that
razoring gale
To blow me back to my springtime.
Now I am twenty-three
And watch the cliff-side
Slipping past the funicular windows
As I climb into the hilltop mist
To meet her that was,
Above Hastings.


Arts Dialogue, March 1996, page 12

  • Poem: Light over Theale, Arts Dialogue, October 2001
  • Poem: Scalloway, Arts Dialogue, February 2001
  • Poem: Above Hastings, Arts Dialogue, March 1996
  • Poem: By the River-Radley, Arts Dialogue, March 1995

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