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Henry David Thoreau begins his poem “Woof of the Sun, Etheral Gauze” with a description of fog covering the sun.
Woof of the sun, ethereal gauze,
Woven of Nature's richest stuffs,
Visible heat, air-water, and dry sea,
Last conquest of the eye…// (ll. 1-4)

At first glance, the preceding passage offers an ordinary image of the sun hidden behind clouds. Through oxymorons he presents the boundless qualities of the low cloud of fog; the phrases “visible heat,” air water,” and dry sea” each present a state beyond the physical world free from temporal restrictions. More importantly Thoreau depicts the clouds as “ethereal gauze,” illustrating the sheerness of the clouds, yet how too the clouds partially conceal the sun from the eye. This special treatment of diaphanous media—fog and smoke—is a unique feature in Thoreau’s poems “Mist,” “Fog,” “The Sluggish Smoke” and “Light-Winged Icarian Bird.” Thoreau employs these metaphors to represent the semi-obscured realm that connects the physical world from the spiritual realm. For Thoreau, there was no distinction between the physical world and the spiritual world unlike Ralph Waldo Emerson who believes there is a division. Images of fog are featured in Thoreau’s poetry to present the bridge between Nature and heaven. The images of smoke serve as a metaphor of the human imagination attempting to reach to connect the two realms.
In the poem “Mist,” one can see Thoreau recognizing and retaining the beauty of the physical world, but also featuring metaphysical attributes to the fog imagery:
Low-anchored cloud
Newfoundland air,
Fountain-head and source of rivers,
Dew-cloth, dream drapery,
And napkin spread by fays;
Drifting meadow of the air,
Where bloom the daisied banks and violets,
And in whose fenny labyrinth
The bittern booms and heron wades;
Spirit of lakes and seas and rivers,
Bear only perfumes and the scent

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