Saturday Poem: Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden

In Uncategorized on December 22, 2013 at 8:11 pm
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?
  1. I was 9 when I first read this poem in an old notebook I found at a thrift shop. And, I cried till I couldn’t find words to express what it meant to my tiny little self back then. Even today, so many years later after that first crying experience, I cry in solitude, sometimes in public(on the trains), but I haven’t been able to share this poem with my Dad yet, without whom my existence seems futile. So many memories come flashing to me… I hope one day, I will share these lines with my Dad and tell him what he really is to me!

    (I am such a cry baby)

    • This was a poem that I found soon after my own father’s sudden and utterly unexpected demise.
      Love’s “lonely offices” in which most parents toil without much expectation, become more apparent when parents depart. Life is too short to miss any opportunities to acknowledge debts to parents and to repay them in whatever way possible.

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