Those Winter Sundays
by Robert Hayden

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?


Anonymous said...

Happy Father's Day! (Call your dad.)

Dave Kuzminski said...

Too many now live in homes where automatic systems take care of such matters. Is it any wonder so few recognize now the value of their parents and their advice?

Thank you for posting that. It's highly appropriate.

Ellen said...

Wow. This poem gets better with every stanza. That last line slayed me.

Thanks, Miss Snark!

Anonymous said...

I respected you before but now I regard you as a kindred spirit. Dog bless true fathers everywhere.

Susan said...

I like knowing this poetic side of you, Miss Snark.


Karla Andrich said...

Poetry is such a monumental gift. This is one of my favorites, too.

Diana Castilleja said...

Lovely poem. And I did my pop good. I rescued him at the airport! LOL

Happy father's day, Dad.. Love ya'

msjones said...

Another really excellent poem is Father's Old Blue Cardigan, by Anne Carson. If you lost your father to a stroke it will make you cry.

One Girl's Opinion said...

This is one of my very favorite poems. I haven't read it in a long time though. It's like running into an old, dear friend.

Thank you Miss Snark. I needed this.

Desperate Writer said...


Anonymous said...

For all we know, Miss Snark is a Dad. If so, happy father's day! :-)

Anonymous said...

Memories of my father are torn pages. The older I get, the harder I work at trying to paste them back together. He seldom knows me now. There's still a flicker there, but it grows dimmer with each visit. The poem however reminds me of my grandfather. You have a pretty big heart, don't you snark?


Georgia Girl

Anonymous said...

It's the little sacrifices, the expected ones, that say so very much.


HawkOwl said...

Lovely. And that's coming from someone who hates poetry.

I have a wood stove in my house. When it's -40 outside and someone is up before you making fire, you notice it. :)

Anonymous said...

I found this poignant and beautiful tribute (Graywolf Press) to William Stafford by his son, Kim. Happy Father's Day.

Keith Pyeatt said...

I should read more poetry.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Miss Snark, for a day-appropriate poem. But I have to say such words and tributes always leave me a little blue.

Not all of us had a father who "banked the fires." To those of you who do, or did, it must be a great blessing.

Ric said...

Lovely, just lovely.

Thanks for posting it.

Snitchcat said...

That was a wonderful poem. Thanks for posting it.

Elizabeth said...

Never thought any kind of tears besides tears of laughter would fill my eyes after reading your blog. Thank you!

And Happy Father's Day to all the Dads in your life!

Anonymous said...

I know people that do not even get along with their fathers let alone appreciate them and respect what they sacrificed to raise them. I lost my father when I was five and would give very important body parts to be able to tell him happy father's day. Happy father's day to all those fathers out there. Especially the ones who aren't appreciated but truly deserve it.

Cynthia Bronco said...

Thank you. I used to carry this poem in my wallet. :)

Thomma Lyn said...


Thank you for posting this, Miss Snark. The last line spoke to me so strongly about my own dad. I've always appreciated his quiet way of showing love, but the older I get, the more I appreciate him.

Anonymous said...

you totally looked that up after reading that other poem of his on the subway, didn't you?

not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

oh wait - that IS the B&N-sponsored subway poem. appropriate pick though, and nice of you to share with everyone who doesn't have to slouch through the gruelling underground heat twice a day.