Notes based on the poem ‘Fog’ are given here. These notes include summary, themes, central idea and poetic devices used in the poem ‘Fog’. This poem is written by Sanburg. Click here for more study materials on ‘Fog’.
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Poem ‘Fog’ Study Notes
Poem ‘Fog’ Text
The fog comesCarl August Sandburg
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbour and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on
Harbour—a place where the ships load or unload goods
Haunches—hips, sitting with knees bent, sitting on buttocks, sitting on thighs
The poem, Fog, showcases Sandburg’s rich imagination and creative genius. In the poem, he uses a common weather phenomenon like fog to comment on different aspects of nature.
- Fog descends upon a city silently like a cat quietly enters a room.
- Just like a cat sits on walls or window sills, the fog settles down on the city and its ports.
- For a brief time, it covers the city and then moves on to its next destination, as silently as it arrived.
The poet has given a very lively picture of the fog in this poem. He compares it with a cat. It comes as silently as a cat. It spreads all over the city and the harbour. It is everywhere. It seems that it is sitting on its haunches, silently. Then suddenly it gets up and moves to some other place. This poem is about the beauties of nature. However, due to our busy life we fail to enjoy the beauty of nature.
- The major theme of this poem is Nature.
- Sandburg explores multiple facets of nature in Fog. Fog is a natural weather phenomenon.
- It ‘comes on’, meaning, descends upon the city, and ‘moves on’, meaning, leaves the city suddenly, with little to no warning. This symbolises the unpredictability of nature.
- Sandburg also describes how the fog overlooks or engulfs the ‘city’ and the ‘harbour’, which represent the world of humans. In this way, nature, through fog, disrupts human life, and asserts its power over humanity.
- Sandburg compares the fog to a cat throughout the poem. Cats are usually known to be independent and solitary creatures. Therefore, this comparison highlights the indifference of nature towards humans.
A few key literary elements in the poem are:
- Rhyme Scheme
- Transferred Epithet
The poem does not have a rhyme scheme since it is written in free verse.
- Sandburg extensively uses metaphors in the poem to draw comparisons between nature and a cat.
- In the line ‘The fog comes on little cat feet’, Sandburg has indirectly compared the fog with a cat.
- He also compares the fog settled over the city to a cat sitting on its hind legs in the line ‘It sits looking over harbour and city on silent haunches and then moves on’.
- In the same line, the poet says that fog leaving the city is like a cat leaving a place quietly.
- The words ‘It sits looking/over harbour and city’ are an example of personification.
- The fog, which is a thing, has been shown doing the actions of sitting and ‘looking’ here.
- Sandburg uses simple words to create a vivid description of the fog.
- The phrases ‘the fog comes on’, ‘sits looking’ and ‘moves on’ invoke imagery of movement in the poem. They create an image of the fog entering, settling over and, then finally moving away from the city.
- The phrases along with ‘little cat feet’ and ‘silent haunches’ come together to compare the actions of the fog to that of a cat.
The phrase ‘on silent haunches’ is an example of transferred epithet. Here, ‘haunches’ are not ‘silent’. Rather, the phrase refers to how a cat silently sits on its back legs.