A Poem For Sunday


Sundays too my father got up early 

And put his clothes on in the blueback 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?

- Robert Hayden, Those Winter Sundays.

(Photo: Alexandra Beier/Getty.)