Robert Hayden’s poem “Those Winter Sundays” is a concise poem that contains the themes of coming of age, and regret. The poem is written in first speaker narrative and from the perspective of the son. The speaker begins the poem by acknowledging his fathers routinely efforts for the family on Sunday mornings, those winter Sunday mornings. The poem is visual and the speaker describes the recollection of his father in an almost melancholic sense. The poem begins with the speaker speaking in the past tense, looking back at his relationship with his father. Toward the end, the speaker has matured and regrets his indifference toward his father.
From the first line of the poem, the speaker acknowledges his fathers efforts for the family on Sunday mornings by stating how his father dedicated his day off to do things for the family. The speaker acknowledges the extra effort his father put in when he wrote “Sundays too my father got up early” (Hayden 677). The word “too” in this line is important because it helps the reader understand that he does not only wake up early on Sundays, but every single day. In the last sentence of the first stanza the speaker admits to the reader “No one ever thanked him” (5). This goes on to show that in the present the speaker feels regret for not appreciating his father waking up early to start a fire.
The speaker uses imagery in the first stanza to incite the reader so that they can imagine the setting in which the father begins his day on Sunday mornings. The “blueblack cold,” blue is the color Hayden wants the reader to visualize and cold is what Hayden wants the reader to feel, those are two different types of scenery details, which are sight and touch (2). Then he goes off to say “with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday” (3). This gives the reader a vivid picture of the father’s cracked hands that he received probably by working through tough labor. Hayden uses auditory words like “splintering” and “breaking” to describe what the speaker would listen when he woke up to his father burning a fire (6). Auditory words help the reader really imagine every second of the speaker’s reminiscence of his father.
In the second stanza the speaker reveals the true relationship between himself and his father when he depicts how, when he was called, he would “slowly rise and dress, fearing the chronic angers of the house” (8). The speaker is obedient to his father so it shows that he respects him, but he does so carefully showing the reader that their might be a loss of communication or comfort between the father and son. However, there is some compassion shown toward his father when the speaker says, “when the rooms were warm, he’d call” acknowledging his father for his thoughtfulness. This also shows the father of the speaker as protective over his family and how he puts his family before himself. The speaker mentions a difficulty in his home when he says there are chronic angers in his home but he does not go...