“Where cheese-cloth hangs in the kitchen, and andirons straddle the hearth-slab…”
Andiron: Either of a pair of metal supports for firewood used on a hearth and made of a horizontal bar mounted on short legs with usually a vertical shaft surmounting the front end. (Merriam-Webster)
Often cast in the form of a statue or with elaborate decorations. Also referred to as a fire-dog for its dog like appearance. (Encyclopedia-Britannica)
The andiron imagery in Whitman’s “Song of Myself” is one of the many ways in which he invokes the spirit of the common person. The andiron was a tool used by everyone but, as can be seen in the two pictures above, they can range over varying degrees of ornateness. This is yet another way for Whitman to show how every individual is connected to one another even through things as simple as fire-dogs.