Fog By Poet Carl Sandburg

The fog comes

on little cat feet.

It sits looking

over harbour and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on.

    CARL SANDBURG

Fog Summary

Explanation of the Poem

This short poem is an expression of the view of fog. For the poet, fog is not just a natural phenomenon, it is rather a creature. Fog has been compared with a cat as the way fog comes, is very similar to the ways of a cat. As a cat walks silently on its small feet, the fog also comes in the same manner, as if trying to avoid any attention. Fog’s presence over and around a city seems as if a cat is sitting silently on its haunches and looking over the harbour and the city. Finally, when fog leaves a city, it looks like a cat’s slow and silent steps moving on from a place.

Central Idea of Poem

The poet Carl Sandburg in his poem ‘fog’ describes fog as a ‘cat’. This description of fog as a living creature shows the poet’s interest in the wonders and beauties of nature. To him, the coming of fog resembles the way a cat comes silently on little feet. Like a cat, the fog sits on its haunches (hips) and like a cat’s gaze (fixed look) the fog looks over the harbour and the city. Just like a cat keeps moving and hardly stays at one place, the fog also slowly moves on and vanishes.

Poetic Devices Used in the Poem

Analogy : Comparison of fag to a cat

Metaphor : The use of cat for referring to fog

Rhyme Scheme : No rhyme. The poem is in free verse.

Word Meanings

harbour : port (a place where the ships load and unload goods)

haunches : hips

Questions and Answers

NCERT Solutions

Thinking about the Poem (Page 115)

Question 1 : a) What does Sandburg think the fog is like?

b) How does the fog come?

c) What does ‘it’ in the third line refer to?

d) Does the poet actually say that the fog is like a cat? Find three things that tell us that the fog is like a cat.

Answer : a) Sandburg thinks that the fog is like a cat.

b) The fog comes silently like a cat on its small feet.

c) ‘It’ refers to fog.

d) The poet does not actually say that the fog is like a cat, but he uses the metaphor of a cat for comparison.

Three things that tell us that the fog is like a cat are:

i) It comes silently like a cat on its small feet.

ii) It looks over like a cat.

iii) It sits on its haunches like a cat.

Question 2 : You know that a metaphor compares two things by transferring a feature of one thing to the other.

a) Find metaphors for the following words and complete the table below. Also try to say how they are alike. The first is done for you.

Storm : Tiger

Train : 

Fire : 

School : 

Home : 

Answer : 

Storm : Tiger – Pounces over the fields; growls

Train : Snake –  Long rope like body

Fire : Sun – Symbol of power

School : Temple – Teaches moral values, virtues

Home : Shelter – Safety, warmth

b) Think about a storm. Try to visualise the force of the storm, hear the sound of the storm, feel the power of the storm and the sudden calm that happens afterwards. Write a poem about the storm comparing it with an animal.

Answer : Do it yourself.

Question 3 : Does this poem have a rhyme scheme? Poetry that does not ave an obvious rhythm or rhyme is called ‘free verse’.

Answer : This poem does not have a rhyme scheme as the sentences do not end with like sounds. There is no pattern of similarity in the sounds of the ending words of any of the sentences, therefore the poem is written in free verse.

Extra Questions

Extract Based Questions

Read the following extract carefully and choose the correct option.

Question 1 :

The fog comes

on little cat feet.

It sits looking

over harbour and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on.

i) How does the fog come or spread?

a) Quietly

b) Making noises

c) Disturbing everyone

d) All of these

ii) Why poet has compared Fog with Cat?

a) Both walk or enter silently

b) Both are unpredictable

c) Both are independent

d) All of the above

iii )Which poetic device has been used in the line………….It sits looking over………….

a) Simile

b) Metaphor

c) Paradox

d) Alliteration

iv) In these lines what does the phrase ‘Look over’ mean?

a) To study

b) To examine

c) To visit a person or place

d) To roam around

Answer : i) a) Quietly

ii) a) Both walk or enter silently

iii) b) Metaphor

iv) c) To visit a person or place

Short Questions and Answers

Question 1 : How does the poet compare fog to a living being?

Answer : The poet compares the fog to a cat.The silent steps of a cat and the way it sits on its haunches is very similar to the way fog comes and surrounds the city and looks over it.

Question 2 : What image does the poet give to the fog?What are the similarities between that image and the fog?

Answer : The poet looks at fog as a living creature and compares it to a cat.The fog moves like a cat on its feet and sits on haunches like a cat.A cat is generally a very cautious creature and therefore it cannot sit and relax in one place.The fog is also a temporary visitor to earth and that shows very clearly in its movements.

Long Questions and Answers

Question 1 : Difficulties come but they are not to stay forever.They come and go.Comment referring to the poem ‘Fog’.

Answer : Difficulties.when faced by people,tend to leave them hopeless and shattered.It takes a lot of courage to overcome any problem and to solve  it.If we take a clue from the poem and compare difficulties to fog,we find that just like fog,difficulties also come and go.One need not be hopeless and lose courage when problems come,one should rather think of it as fog,meaning that it has not come to stay but will always leave,like fog.Problems are also temporary and they will go away like fog as they cannot stay or trouble anyone permanently.

Question 2 : Nature has many wonders  that people take for granted and never pay attention to. How is the poem ‘Fog’ different from this perspective?

Answer : The poet has taken utmost pleasure in nature and natural phenomenon like fog. Fog is so special to the poet that he cared enough not only to write about it, but also thought of its resemblance with other things in the world. In his close attention to fog, he found fog resembling a cat, in the way it moves and sits on its haunches. The fact that such a resemblance was found by the poet shows how connected he is to various things in nature. This poem serves as a motivation for people, who take nature for granted to find such interesting comparisons and similarities around them.