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Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack 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 (1913–1980) was raised by foster parents in a household of “chronic angers” that left him with lifetime bouts of depression. Influenced by W.H. Auden, under whom he studied at the University of Michigan, and by the poets of the Harlem Renaissance, Hayden’s work is marked by eloquence and humanity. Upon his marriage in 1940, Hayden converted to the Bah’ai faith. “Those Winter Sundays” is from the Collected Poems of Robert Hayden, edited by Frederick Glaysher, published by Liveright, and reprinted with permission.

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Sundays too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack 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 (1913–1980) was raised by foster parents in a household of “chronic angers” that left him with lifetime bouts of depression. Influenced by W.H. Auden, under whom he studied at the University of Michigan, and by the poets of the Harlem Renaissance, Hayden’s work is marked by eloquence and humanity. Upon his marriage in 1940, Hayden converted to the Bah’ai faith. “Those Winter Sundays” is from the Collected Poems of Robert Hayden, edited by Frederick Glaysher, published by Liveright, and reprinted with permission.

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Comments
3

Beautiful piece. I had never heard of this poet, or read his work, that I recall. Thanks, I will have to look him up.

May 13, 2010

sraight forward hyperbole met out like the chill of winter snow...i like it!!!

May 15, 2010

that's straight forward...oops...hahahahaha

May 15, 2010

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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