Took by breath away
“Fade in place” resonates so strongly with the concept of sheltering in place that the context is almost certainly pandemic-related. Beyond the specificity of that context, though, the poet leaves the precise details to the reader, giving the poem a universality that can speak to anyone.
Personally, I see an elderly man slipping into a lassitude that could be early dementia resulting from weeks or months of isolation. Activity and mental stimulation have declined, and at this point all his caregiver can do is look at him as if he were a still life (painting) — and at a life that has literally become still (unmoving, muted, subdued).
And yet there is “still life”, and where there is life there is hope. Could a return to a semblance of normalcy, as the pandemic passes, revive him? If he is in otherwise good health, might he survive to enjoy life once again? It’s a stretch, but I’d like to think so.
This haiku speaks to me so strongly! ‘Watching him fade in place’ is powerful!
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