Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?
By Robert Hayden
Those winter Sundays is a poem about a son remembering his father. Robert Hayden possesses an astonishing skill with language and structure which make him poems deep and meaningful. It is show in this poem that love is actually present. It was communicated not by speech but by actions, specifically by building fires in the early morning that drove out the cold and polished his childs shoes. He captures the need of love from a distant father to the child but at the same time, the child admits to his own lack of empathy to his father.
The poem begins with a simple line that establishes the subject and tone of the poem, the boy's father. The action of his father dressing is sharpened by the words "blueblack" which describes the sheer darkness of the winter cold. It then focuses on the "cracked hands" of the father that are pained from the weekday work which shows he is hardworking., but it does not keep him from making the fire that warms the house. The blueblack cold is contrasted by the image of fire. Self-sacrifice is evident here because the man disregards his own pain to warm and light the home for his family. Robert Hayden use of language is phenomenal because he uses the consistent sound of a hard 'c' that adds move power to the element of pain: "cracked hands that ached." Each hard 'c' that is used brings recollection of the first harsh 'c.' The stanza finishes with the