David Beach

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Jerusalem Sonnets 3

The ‘brass rings’ sonnet features a Baxter
(the more so when the tribulations of
his World War One pacifist father are
recalled) ludicrously holier-than-thou: but
the lash of presenting himself like that
can’t be faulted: the whole sequence, in
fact, can be viewed as Baxter giving himself
a thrashing – ‘Twenty strokes are more than
enough’ finding an echo in ‘I had
hoped for fifty sonnets’; with the sequence
stopping at 39 likely an allusion
to Christ’s forty lashes, Baxter darkly
showing pride asserting itself even
in the attempt to be a scourge to it.

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