Those Winter Sundays – Robert Hayden

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?

– – –

I keep coming across this poem, and I really like it. It isn’t much like the relationship I have with my father – thank goodness, my father’s wonderful – but it does sort of speak to a different kind of love, an older show of affection. We live in a rather over the top world, it seems, where everything is out in the open, where we’re forever telling people exactly how we feel. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – it can be very helpful sometimes – but it doesn’t seem to me like we see “love’s austere and lonely offices” much anymore.

Regardless, I’m rather fond of this poem. I feel for the dad, the one who “no one ever thanked,” and, because maybe it still isn’t said enough,

Thank you, Dad.

Oh, and P.S. If you want to check out something I wrote along the same lines of family relationships, check out Clove Cigarettes. Thanks!


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