Those Winter Sundays – Robert Hayden


The reign of the Winter

As a child, I relied on my parents for food, shelter, and happiness. They gave me everything I could possibly ask for, I had my own bedroom, my own toys, and their undivided love and attention. Looking back though, I notice that I didn’t realize their value and the impact they had on my life. Robert Hayden’s poem Those Winter Sundays walks the reader through an increasing realization of the value a parent has. Throughout each verse we have growing appreciation and a little taste of regret for not realizing or even appreciating earlier. Robert Hayden focused his poem on his dad, but for me reading this poem makes me think of my mom. I have never in my life met anyone more hard-working, or determined than my own mom, and realizing how much I have put her through while growing up, or going through my teenage years, is upsetting. None the less, my mom has always loved me and I think that Hayden has addressed all of these feelings through his poem.

The first stanza is my favorite, and in my mind the most impactful, it sets the story up and automatically makes me want to help the father out. Hayden makes use of small words but they carry so much power. The first line,

“Sundays too my father got up early…”

He could have said “Sundays my father got up early,” but by adding the too makes me want to bold it and make sure it is supposed to be powerful. It adds so much to the entire line. It makes me feel for the father, and it makes me want to call my dad up and thank him! The entire first stanza serves to make me rethink all that my parents do. By talking about their tired and aching hands, to the last line, line 5. Line 5 States,

“No one every thanks him.”

This line isn’t meant to hurt the reader or to make him feel bad, instead it reminds me of reverse psychology, because after reading that line, I thought wow my dad never asked me to thank him, or my mom never even expected to be thanked. Not only does this poem help to make me realize the love and affection that my parents gave me but it makes me want to strive to be like them. It makes me rethink being upset at them.

Robert Hayden has taken a simple three verse lyric poem and created something powerful and striking. Through his use of simple words, and forms of subtle irony, and reverse psychology, his poem really made me think about the impact my parents have on my life. Looking back though, they made me into the person that I am now, and through my childhood, I have learned so many important and moral things and for that reason, I would not do anything differently, instead I will call my mom more, and learn to look at things with a better appreciation.


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