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Those Winter SundaysSundays too my father got up earlyand put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,then with cracked hands that achedfrom labor in the weekday weather madebanked 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 coldand polished my good shoes as well.What did I know, what did I knowof love’s austere and lonely offices?Nothing Gold Can Stay Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay. When You Are Old When you are old and grey and full of sleep,And nodding by the fire, take down this book,And slowly read, and dream of the soft lookYour eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;How many loved your moments of glad grace,And loved your beauty with love false or true,But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,And loved the sorrows of your changing face;And bending down beside the glowing bars,Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fledAnd paced upon the mountains overheadAnd hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
Those Winter Sundays Analysis:In Robert Hayden’s "Those Winter Sundays," the speaker is a man reflecting on his past and his apathy toward his father when the speaker was a child. As an adult the speaker has come to understand what regretfully had escaped him as a boy. The final word in the title is "Sundays." In the poem, Sunday is significant for its religious implications. In the first line the speaker tells us that "Sundays too my father got up early" (1). And in the book of Genesis, Chapter 2, Verses 2 and 3, it is written that "He rested on the seventh day, and sanctified it.” Throughout Judeo-Christian history, Sunday has been regarded as a day of rest, but the speaker’s father, trapped in his role as father, is not able to observe this convention. In the next four lines, Hayden uses alliterationand the dissonance of cacophony to intimate the father’s pain and the difficulty of his life:and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,then with cracked hands that achedfrom labor in the weekday weather madebanked fires blaze. (2-5)In lines two and three, Hayden uses harsh consonant sounds in the words "cold," "cracked," and "ached"to evoke the harshness of the speaker’s father’s life.The father’s pain is felt through the powerful imagery of "cracked hands that ached." The reader also gets a sense of the lowly economic status of the household from words like "blueblack," "labor" and "weekday weather." One can infer that the father has a low-paying blue-collar job and that he works with his hands doing manual labor outside in the biting cold. The father’s strength is established in the fourth line when he takes "banked fires" and makesthem "blaze" to create a comfortable environment for his son.