FOG by Carl Sandburg
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Read the poem with your children. Read it almost as quietly as the sounds of little cat feet… which is very, very quiet. You can almost feel the silence, the stillness, the hush as the dense vapor wanders in, hovers and then moves on. Giving lifelike characteristics to a thing like FOG (or any inanimate object) is called personification. Older children may be familiar with the term, and younger children may find it fascinating to learn. The poem FOG is a wonderful way to introduce this poetic term.
Talk to your children about FOG. What is it? How does it form? What does it look like? How is FOG different from a cloud or mist or rain? Talk to your children about CATS. How do they walk? How do they sit? What is the meaning of the word haunches? What sounds do CATS make as they walk or sit or observe? Talk about how FOG and CATS are similar.
Read the poem again. Read the first 2 lines very quietly. Read the next 4 lines quietly… but with the feeling or sense that the CAT, like FOG, is temporary, coming and going as it pleases.
FOG is a wonderful poem to use as an introduction to personification… or to simply enjoy the masterful way Sandburg allows us to see, feel, hear and be enveloped by the FOG as it hovers over the harbor and the city. Children will see it, feel it, hear it and be enveloped by it, too. Your children will remember this poem the next time a real FOG rolls into your city or town, mountain or valley or harbor. They will remember the little cat feet bringing it in and moving it out. This connection between life and literature is what LITERACY is all about. WORDS: Written, Spoken, Felt.
Remember… “To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June.”