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Poem Analysis: Those Winter Sundays

870 words - 4 pages

Robert Hayden 1913-1980
Those winter Sundays
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?

Poem “Those Winter Sundays” is wrote by Robert Hayden, generally seen as a crafted lyric on a universal ...view middle of the document...

Hands were ached and unsmooth, but still successfully created clemency for a family in a physical and emotional way. A following sentence “I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking” metaphorically expresses author’s sensory perception. “Cold” cannot be heard, but love like a warm stream runs along whole body to the bottom of heart, he caught the intangible warm temperature as veritably as hearing the cold “splintering”. And the word “warm” appears in second stanza similarly hints at a larger meaning, it is more than a physical feeling---he contacts the warmth of father’s refined and flowing love. The short sentence that ends stanza one, “No one ever thanked him” establishes a moral structure in the scene---he owned his father a “thank you” which he did not say.
However, something seems not very harmonious. Atmosphere in home was as cold as the weather, which made speaker “fear the chronic angers of that house”. According to article Robert Hayden (1913-1980): An Appreciation, Hayden was essentially given away as a toddler by his biological parents to their next-door neighbors, raised by foster parents whose strict rules and fundamentalist religion sat heavily on him. While love has many modes of expression, in someplace it could be austere and heavy, but no mater in which way it doesn’t splinter or break as the cold air, maybe as a child, he was too young to understand this kind of love---an instinctive and authoritative love.
Hayden ends up poem with “love’s austere and lonely...

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