"Those Winter Sundays" is a poem by Robert Hayden written in 1962. In the poem, an adult speaker reflects on how, when he was a child, his father would get up early on Sunday mornings throughout the winter in order to light a fire and warm up the house before anyone else got out of bed. At the time the speaker failed to appreciate this, as well as the other ways his father expressed affection for his family. Only upon looking back at these memories as an adult does he understand the often selfless and thankless nature of love.
Sundays too my ...
... the blueblack cold,
then with cracked ...
... ever thanked him.
I’d wake and ...
... of that house,
Speaking indifferently to ...
... shoes as well.
What did I ...
... and lonely offices?
Select any word below to get its definition in the context of the poem. The words are listed in the order in which they appear in the poem.
Hayden's Childhood — A brief interview segment that mentions Hayden's upbringing.
A Reading by Hayden — The poem read by the poet himself.
Hayden at the Brockport Writers Forum — Hayden reads his poetry and discusses his influences.
Hayden's Life and Work — A valuable resource about Hayden from the Poetry Foundation.
Hayden and the Academy of American Poets — Hayden's written response to being nominated to the prestigious Academy of American Poets.
1Sundays too my father got up early
2and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
3then with cracked hands that ached
4from labor in the weekday weather made
5banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
6I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
7When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
8and slowly I would rise and dress,
9fearing the chronic angers of that house,
10Speaking indifferently to him,
11who had driven out the cold
12and polished my good shoes as well.
13What did I know, what did I know
14of love’s austere and lonely offices?