On Little Cat Feet

Little cat feet come to Pebble Beach

   FOG by Carl Sandberg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

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


Studying English included offerings in the basics of American and English literature, composition, and reading stories (with too many characters who had unfamiliar names) like The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Brothers Karamazov. Then there were electives, the optional studies in the field of your interest.

My electives of choice were creative writing and poetry.

• The easy delightful stories of William Saroyan. My first favorite book (age 16) was My Name is Aram, introduced by my high school writing teacher Irv Beltrame, who doubled as the cross-country track coach. Actually that book was preceded by Henry Reed, Inc. by Keith Robertson (5th grade, my pick from the local library shelf, and who’s author my friend’s mother met 50 years later on a cruise ship), and Richard Halliburton’s, The Complete Book of Marvels (7th grade, my pick from the junior high school library).

• The once-read embedded visuals of Richard Brautigan, like… a hard-on the size of Philidelphia. And of Tom Robbins… a really young girl–fifteen, sixteen, seventeen–would scream as if a Godzilla egg had hatched in her bathwater.

• The alliteration of Edgar Allen Poe in The Raven… And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain, thrilled me,– filled me with fantastic terror never felt before, so that now to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating, “Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door” — “Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;” Only this and nothing more.

• The poetry. T.S. Elliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock; ee cummings who’s poems inspired by first art show of 100 pen-and-ink drawings, and one special poem with the lines…. love is more thicker than forget, more thinner than recall, more seldom than a wave is wet, more frequent than to fail, it is most mad and moonly, and less it shall unbe, than all the sea which only, is deeper than the sea… (Fondly remembered as the verse included in my wedding to artist Robert Freitas, RIP)

• And then there is the simplicity of Carl Sandburg’s poem Fog. Try as I might this past weekend in Carmel, California, I could not shake the feeling that Sandburg was standing next to me commenting on both his words and the scenery, “You don’t have to understand it, just feel it.”

Little cat feet in the canyon

Ultimately, I stopped questioning

and embraced the chill,

and the mist,

and the serenity called fog.