An Adult's Reflection of Childhood and Relationship With Their Father in Those Winter Sundays, a Poem by Robert Hayden

“Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden is an emotional poem of an adult looking back at their childhood, and relationship with their father I instantly was attracted to and connected to this poem. There are times in our lives where we look back on certain experiences in regret views change and people grow. The speaker in “Those Winter Sundays” reflects on past experiences of indifference toward their father when he she was young. As the poem progress, and the speaker matures, there is a clear realization of the difficulties and pressures parents undergo the emotional appeal is triggered through various elements, such as, the father’s unconditional selflessness, love, and hard work to provide for his child this poem was very simply written, with no rhyme scheme or meter.

Every stanza deepens the emotional appeal and builds to support the theme.

The title itself entails a flashback of some son, using the past tense, “those”. Referring to winter could also imply the gloomy and cold weather, as opposed to if the poet used “summer”, which refers to happy and warms days.

In the first line of the first stanza, the speaker says,” Sundays too my father got up early,” Sundays have implications tied to religion, where Sundays are typically kept for resting. The father‘s obligation to work each day of the week initiates sympathy for the family and perhaps relatability for the reader. Also, the usage of “father“ rather than “dad” suggests a distance between the two the writer goes into detail with “then with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday”.

Get quality help now

Proficient in: Culture

4.7 (348)

“ Amazing as always, gave her a week to finish a big assignment and came through way ahead of time. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

The reader can envision the strenuous work his father does, along with it most likely being a low-paid blue-collar job the imagery is especially very powerful in “cracked hands that ached”. The first stanza ends with “No one ever thanked him.” This thought somewhat stands alone, and is moreso of an afterthought, it grasps the attention and tugs on the heartstrings of the reader, because the taken-for—grandness is placed right after the line of the pain and commitment the father goes through. The regret of the reader slowly, yet notably, seeps in the second stanza primarily revolves around and showcases the speaker’s feelings. It is a shift, because the fear and apprehension of the child is shown in line 9 “fearing the chronic angers of that house”. The fear the child felt toward their home and father helped me paint the picture of the possible hostility and lack of a strong relationship among the family. Also, the usage of “house“ rather than “home” has a neutral connotation, and asserts the separation and detachment the child may have felt.

The last stanza brings the message of the poem home it was eye-opening when the speaker became especially vulnerable when saying, “Speaking indifferently to him, who had driven out the cold and polished my good shoes as wellt”. The regret, maturity, and ultimate realization of the adult looking back on their experience is encompassed with the acknowledgment of how selfless his/her father was. The repetition of “What did I know, what did I know?” (line 13) is the peak of the confession where the regret is so strong. The child was incapable of fully understanding a parent’s dedication and devotion to their family and although it may not be rainbows and flowers all the time, we must acknowledge our parents are serving us, and we owe them everything.

Cite this page

An Adult's Reflection of Childhood and Relationship With Their Father in Those Winter Sundays, a Poem by Robert Hayden. (2023, Jan 11). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7