Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Those Winter Sundays

Those Winter Sundays


Sundays too my father got up early
And put his clothes on in the blueback 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?

Robert Hayden

This poem reminds me how much I take my parents for granted. I try not to but its easy to not remember to count our blessings. In this poem, the father provides heat to the chilly house and without thanks. I take this as a metaphor for all the unmentioned little things that parents do that we can easily forget about. I like how in the next to last line he repeats "what did I know", implying that now, as an adult and perhaps a father himself, he finally understands the love a parent has for his or her children, something he couldn't grasp as a young boy. I remember when my dad would call me for breakfast and if I didn't get dressed and wash up fast I'd get yelled at, but I always thought of that and never the fact that he woke up early and made me a meal, and with his hard-earned money bought the groceries to make me that meal. It must be hard to do things for someone that doesn't appreciate the things you are doing for them, but that is what the poet is talking about : the unconditional love of a parent for their children, a love that surpasses even the one for themselves.

2 Comments:

Blogger rARa bEez said...

The poem does indeed trigger memories of my dad when he was alive and I, an angry teenager then.

Indeed, as I grew up I witnessed that 'no one ever thanked him'. Perhaps for fear of the 'chronic angers' of my house.
Like the persona, I did speak 'indifferently to him'. This was not attributed by my hatred though. It was Fear and perhaps ...hatred for always being too caring.But we became best friends as we grew older. He will always be my hero and wish to remain his little girl whose hands he never let go.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Julie Mong said...

This poem shows the importance of little things taken for granted. I agree with you when it makes you remember how we take our parents for granted. I don't think that it just can be said about our parents but for all those things that people do for us and we never think twice about. The last few lines of the poem really brings out the meaning. "What did i know of love's austere and lonely offices" I think this tells us that the father does all these things without thinking and does it because he love his kids. But the kids don't know or understand how much he cares about them. He wakes up early to "drive out the cold" even though he has worked hard all during the week to put food on the table. It makes the speaker seem very ungrateful but he does realize it at the end.

4:02 PM  

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