“. . . in my poems I freeze-frame passages to release their lyric potential.” – Michael Longley, Preface.
The freeze-frame here is from Book 5 of Homer’s Odyssey, where Odysseus, afraid that cold or wild beasts will overcome him, finds a place in a wood where two trees are so closely grown together (thorn and olive) they will protect him until dawn. He heaps their fallen leaves over himself and Athena closes his eyes with sleep. In Michael Longley’s hands, the result is a beautiful and moving new poem, accompanied by Sarah Longley’s fine illustration.