‘Fog’ is a six lines poem composed by
Carl Sandburg, an American poet, biographer, journalist and editor.
The poem ‘Fog’ captures the mysterious
and fleeting nature of fog, using the metaphor of a cat to convey its silent,
creeping movement and transient quality. This way the poet suggests that just like fog human life is also transient and has to perish one day.
· It is a simple and short poem which metaphorically presents fog as a cat who appears secretly and disappears softly. The poet wants to give fog a form employing Imagery and personification so wonderfully and successfully. It is composed as free verse.
The poet conveys that the fog has
transient existence, still envelops entire city in its grip for some moments, and
that every entity in the universe has its own value.
· Tone of the poem is philosophical as the
poet conveys that every entity of nature has its own significance and our life
is transient and short lived just like fog.
by Line Explanation
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbour and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
The opening line sets the stage, announcing the arrival of fog. The use of the word "comes" suggests a gradual, slow and quiet entrance giving fog a form and identity of a cat using personification. The poem compares the slow movement of the fog to the small and stealthy steps of a cat. This creates an image of the fog creeping in silently and softly, and with certain grace of a cat. The fog seems to take on a deliberately slow action, as if it makes a conscious action.
The word "sits" implies a settled or stationary state of a cat describing the fog settling on every thing in the city. The fog extends its presence over both the city and the harbour at the outskirts of city. This expansion of the fog's reach adds to its all pervasive and encompassing nature speaking of its significance as every other entity of nature. This line continues the imagery of the fog as a cat, now describing it as sitting on "silent haunches." This reinforces the idea that fog very quietly envelops entire world and impacts everyone in the world again speaking of its significance.
It then, moves on, suggesting that its presence is
temporary, and it will eventually dissipate or shift to another location.
Scheme of the poem
The poem is composed in free verse having no rhyming scheme.
The fog comes – Personification
on little cat feet. – Consonance, Metaphor, Imagery
sits looking – Assonance, Personification, Imagery
over harbour and city – Imagery, Consonance, enjambment
on silent haunches - Enjambment
and then moves on. –
of the poem
This poem is a
metaphorical interpretation of fog. It conveys that even the least significant
thing in nature can be viewed as an individual entity and has its own
significance. Even the most trivial and insignificant things can impact our
There is also an underlying message
that every entity of nature has its own significance however short lived it is. Human life is also transient and temporary just like fog which comes, envelops the city and then goes away quietly.