Those Winter Sundays Essay
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Those Winter Sundays
"Those Winter Sundays" is a very touching poem. It is written by Robert Hayden who has written many other poems. This paper will talk about the poem "Those Winter Sundays". In particular we will look at the structure, main idea, and each stanza of the poem. "Those Winter Sundays" has a structure like many other poems. It is written in the first person notation. Often through the poem you would find yourself reading "I'd wake" and "I know". "Those Winter Sundays" has three stanzas that are separated with even white space. The first stanza consists of five lines followed by the second containing four lines and like the first stanza the last consists of five lines. Although the poem does not seem to rhyme…show more content…
He also describes the conditions of the father's hands demonstrating that he was a hard worker and still woke up before everyone else to warm up the rooms. The father basically says love in the simple act he does. Like many people I can personally relate to this poem. My father was not always demonstrative and affectionate but during my childhood years he always made sure I had everything I needed. That showed me that my father cared. There is another side to this poem where the child admits to his own lack of empathy to his father. I suppose at that time he never realized what his father was doing. The line, "no one ever thanked him" explain the child's regrets. In the first stanza the reader is introduced to the two characters in the poem. The reader is also made aware of the time of the year and day. The first stanza reveals a lot of information. It tells the reader who, when, and where. It also appeals to the sense of touch and sight when it describes the father's hands and also when he "puts his clothes on in the blueblack cold." One could almost feel the "cold" and see the "cracked hands." The second stanza is almost like the first in the fact that it appeals to the same senses. It talks about the actions and the feelings of the child. It describes how the child would wake and wait for his father to call him. The second stanza also describes the mood of the house in the line, "fearing the chronic angers of that house." Perhaps that line is
So the main theme of the poem is that of parental sacrifice and duty. Do these amount to love? Even if the relationship isn't ideal, even if the father isn't related by blood, there's still a bond between two individuals. The only thing is, it takes years for this bond to be acknowledged by the child.
The speaker's ignorance is reflected in the penultimate line:
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?
Picture the child in that rather forbidding household as the father, given no word of thanks, prepares his shoes for Sunday church. The language conveys the intense atmosphere of that blueblack cold - austere brings with it seriousness, a strict kind of poverty, whilst lonely offices suggests that these parental acts were more a duty than a kindness.
This poem, in just five sentences, neatly illustrates the complex nature of a father-son relationship. Use of the word father is more formal (papa or pop or dad or daddy would arguably have undermined the gravitas) and ties in with the idea of a selfless Christian father figure (Christ), suffering for the sake of others.
The father has his own cross to bear. After a long working week his cracked hands that ached now tend to the life affirming fire. The image is that of a tough manual worker who strives hard to make ends meet, who is a no nonsense practical type bound to the sabbath duties on the one day of rest.
But where, we might ask, is the mother? She is absent. Where is the word home? Home doesn't exist? There is no sign of comfort in the speaker's personal narrative; there are only rooms that warm up gradually as the speaker wakes:
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
Chronic means long term and is derived from Chronos, a personification of Time in Greek mythology. Chronos is involved with the past eating up the future, wielding the classic harvest scythe, suppressing joy.
There is no doubt the speaker in stanza two sees the father as a negative influence on life and is indifferent to him, because he didn't know any better. Could be the father was aggressive, inducing fear into the house which influences the child and confuses the issues of love, regret and the reality of family relationships.