Those winter Sundays- Robert Hayden



[Sunday is a Christian day for praying]

Sundays too my father got up early

[Today like any other day his father got up early]

and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,

[Before dawn, the sun isnít up yet thatís why itís dark]

then with cracked hands that ached

[His father worked as a laborer. Works in the street]

from labor in the weekday weather, made

[His father used to work out side on the weekdays]

banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

[Very big fires. They look like the riverbanks. Wood or coal is used to feed the fire.]



Iíd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking

[The sound when glass breaks and heís referring to the ice against the glass windows.]

When the rooms were warm, heíd call

[Obviously when the fire is read he would call his family to come]

and slowly I would rise and dress,

[He canít dress very fast because of the cold.]

fearing the chronic angers of that house

[Chronic is very bad or permanently awful. Apparently they feared the father]



Speaking indifferently to him [careless]

who had driven out the cold

and polished my good shoes as well

What did I know, what did I know

[His father used to do so many good things for him, but they never appreciated it since he was probably severe and strict, so they feared him instead]

of loveís austere and lonely offices?

[Austere is sever, cold or strict. The lonely offices refer to the offices in the church. His father serves his family like the priest serves god.]




Tone: Remorse, regretful and nostalgic


Subject:  The boyís father


Theme: Bittersweet memories


Poet:  Robert Hayden


Speaker: The son of the father


A little Description of the poem:  This man is remembering the old days, especially the Sundays in winter. He remembers that his father, who is a laborer used to wake up early like he always does, even before the sunrise. In the freezing cold, and gloominess of the weather he puts his clothes on with aching hands. He makes large fires for his family but no one ever thanked him because they feared his severity. The son remembers that he would wake up, and find it hard for him to dress quickly cause of the cold. But when he goes to the now warm rooms, thanks to his fathersí fires, heíd find out his father had polished his shoes as well. He hadnít known then, when he was young that parental love wasnít necessarily shown in hugs and kisses. But now he realizes that sometimes, parents show their loves to their children in other ways.


Style of poem: It has 3 versus, and the lines donít rhyme. A sentence begins in the middle of the sentence. Modern.


Setting: In America, past time, in a house in winter.