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by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.


Fog is a short poem, consisting of six lines, and split into two stanzas. The poem is free verse. It does not have a rhyme scheme or meter.

The substance of the poem is a metaphor. The Speaker describes fog as if it is a cat. What does fog have in common with a cat? It moves freely as it wishes. It is quiet. Does fog sit and stare in the manner of a cat? I suppose one might view the way it settles over a city that way. Like a cat, fog leaves as quietly as it arrives.

Does fog also bite if you give it exactly one more belly rub than it requested? I suppose Sandburg does not extend the metaphor quite that far.

What does Wikipedia tell us about this poem?

Fog” is a poem by Carl Sandburg. It first appeared in Sandburg’s first mainstream collection of poems, Chicago Poems, published in 1916.

Sandburg has described the genesis of the poem. At a time when he was carrying a book of Japanese Haiku, he went to interview a juvenile court judge, and he had cut through Grant Park and saw the fog over Chicago harbor. He had certainly seen many fogs before, but this time he had to wait forty minutes for the judge, and he only had a piece of newsprint handy, so he decided to create an “American Haiku”