Those Winter Sundays Those Winter Sundays “Those Winter Sundays” is a very touching poem. It is written by Robert Hayden who has written many other poems. This paper will talk about the poem “Those Winter Sundays”. In particular we will look at the structure, main idea, and each stanza of the poem. “Those Winter Sundays” has a structure like many other poems.
It is written in the first person notation. Often through the poem you would find yourself reading “I’d wake” and “I know”. “Those Winter Sundays” has three stanzas that are separated with even white space. The first stanza consists of five lines followed by the second containing four lines and like the first stanza the last consists of five lines. Although the poem does not seem to rhyme it has a rhythm of its own. In this particular poem, Robert Hayden writes about the relationship of the speaker (child, who is now grown up) with his father. 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.
Hayden uses specific detail to show that the father cared – the way the father woke up before everyone else to light the fire and polish the shoes. He also describes the conditions of the father’s hands demonstrating that he was a hard worker and still woke up before everyone else to warm up the rooms. The father basically says love in the simple act he does. Like many people I can personally relate to this poem. My father was not always demonstrative and affectionate but during my childhood years he always made sure I had everything I needed. That showed me that my father cared.
There is another side to this poem where the child admits to his own lack of empathy to his father. I suppose at that time he never realized what his father was doing. The line, “no one ever thanked him” explain the child’s regrets. In the first stanza the reader is introduced to the two characters in the poem. The reader is also made aware of the time of the year and day.
The first stanza reveals a lot of information. It tells the reader who, when, and where. It also appeals to the sense of touch and sight when it describes the father’s hands and also when he “puts his clothes on in the blueblack cold.” One could almost feel the “cold” and see the “cracked hands.” The second stanza is almost like the first in the fact that it appeals to the same senses. It talks about the actions and the feelings of the child. It describes how the child would wake and wait for his father to call him.
The second stanza also describes the mood of the house in the line, “fearing the chronic angers of that house.” Perhaps that line is talking about the mood and the anger of the father. The last stanza does not really appeal to any senses. It talks about how the child speaks to the father. It also tells the reader that the father polished the child’s shoes as his own way of showing love. The last two lines were really interesting.
“What did I know, what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices?” In those two lines Hayden is talking about the child that has now grown up looking back at his life to see the real meaning of “love”. The words “love’s austere” tell the reader that love could be a harsh and complex emotion that can be expressed in many different ways. In conclusion, “Those Winter Sundays” was about the relationship of the child with his father. Although the father cares and shows love in his own ways, the child expresses the need of love from a distant father. And at the same time, the child admits to his own lack of empathy and communication with his father. Poetry.