Elementary School Literature

On my wedding invitations, I printed a line from Robert Frost, and a guest, mistaking Carl Sandburg for crusty Frost, gave us a collection of Sandburg’s poems.

I woke this frosty morning thinking of a poem we read aloud in my fifth grade class, in the basement of a three-story brick building later converted to senior housing. Although I grew up in wooded New Hampshire, far from any harbor or city, the poem’s perfect for kids – short and muscled, primed to pounce, cat-like.

Here’s the past again materializing: I’ve long since forgotten that teacher’s name, or even anyone else in the class. Yet I distinctly recall sitting there as a quiet kid wearing orange tights, in a warm classroom where the basement windows opened to the back driveway, loving this poem.

Hard frost last night. Wearing winter coats, the 12-year-old and I walked last evening, the stars overhead, passing no one.

“Fog”
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
– Carl Sandburg