Those Winter Sundays
Robert Hayden’s poem, Those Winter Sundays is an interesting poem that shows the relationship between the speaker and the father. This first thing to note in this poem is the speaker’s word choice in several instances that note the fathers love for his family. In line one the word the speaker says, Sundays too my father got up early. The use of the word too evokes a sensation that not only does the father get up early every other day of the week, but Sunday too. It is a day he could probably sleep in a little, but he chooses to rise early. Also in the first stanza the speaker describes the state of the cold: blue-black and the state of the hands: cracked hands that ached with equal intensity. He could have just said cold and left off the bit about hands entirely, but if he did we would not see the father’s love through the suffering for his family.
Moving on to the second stanza the use of splintering, breaking to describe the cold stands out. The first four lines of the first stanza the speaker paints a mental image of the father making a fire. The use of descriptive language makes me think of the sacrifice of the father. He gets up in the blue-black cold to make a fire to warm his family. He is weary from weekday work, which has caused his hands to be cracked and ached but he still gets up to make the fire. This unspoken love isn’t recognized by the speaker until the last line of the first stanza, “No one ever thanked him” (Kennedy&Gioia 1117).
Hayden uses interesting literary devices throughout the poem to remind the reader of the scene. In the first stanza there is consonance with the many words that seem to have a sound to them: blue-black, cold, cracked, ached. Interestingly enough each word in this set is one of the heavier descriptive words in the stanza making the feelings seem more...