The palindrome – “Peel’s foe, not a set animal, laminates a tone of sleep”
– encapsulates the heart of Requiem. Far more than an amusing linguistic game, it alludes in its back- and-forth structure, to repeating cycles of creation and destruction.
Peels or peel towers, were small fortified stone fortresses built along the English-Scottish border as watch towers to warn of approaching danger.
In this sense, “caged/uncaged,” otherwise known as “Martha’s Peel,” is a kind of peel warning us of the rapidly accumulating ecological danger, the sixth extinction. The “foe” who Martha is watching is the overwhelming force of humanity driving global climate change. That foe is “not a set animal,” a static being, but a dynamic process causing the release of greenhouse gasses faster than the planet can absorb them. Thus, the extinction of millions of species (“laminates a tone of sleep”) is well under way. Many of those species are ones we have never even discovered.
Possibly, one of those is we ourselves!