Robert Hayden was one of those American authors, who created unbelievably deep and captivating poems with certain meaning and intention. Usually, his poems concentrate readers’ attention on such themes like black man’s place in this world, his desire to find out own identity, and numerous fights, a black man has to face in the streets almost every day. Many Hayden’s works touch not only readers’ minds but also their souls.
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These poems can make a person look at this world in absolutely different ways and realize that past challenges cost nothing in comparison to the challenges other people cope with day by day. Those Winter Sundays is a poem, in which Robert Hayden describes family relations, father’s constant sacrifices and unbelievable devotion that made a man neglect own pain and discontent in order to provide his family with warm and care, which were so obligatory their lives.
Those Winter Sundays is the story about family relations, where a father plays the most important role because he works so hard with his “cracked hands that ached from labor” (Hayden n.p.).
In this poem, the message of the author is based on his own life and his childhood. He was raised by his foster parents (Greasley 251), because his true parents separated before the child even was born. Considerable age gap between him and his father, William, deprived young Robert of the opportunity to comprehend his foster father’s love to its full extent. William had to get up early every day in order to provide his family with the necessary comfort as well as the character from the poem did (Formann 8).
“Sundays to my father got up early…the cold splintering, breaking” (Hayden n.p.). These lines introduce a serious point to the reader: a father sacrifices so many things and even his own health but creates warm for his son and his family. It does not matter what time is now, what weather is outside; the father realizes his duties and has to find more powers to help his family to start this new day more or less comfortably. Even if his actions are not noticeable for his family, somewhere inside, he knows that his efforts will be soon appreciated.
On my opinion, each father has to think about his family’s comfort. However, this family has to take care about the father as well, but in this case, “no one ever thanked him” (Hayden n.p).
A son in the poem gets a chance to analyze how unfair and terrible his father’s work actually is; but through the lines, the reader also comprehends that this son is not satisfied with the fact that his father spends so much time far from him. He is too young to understand that this care is much more important than just simple being together, and this devotion is the one that is reasonable and fair.
“Robert Hayden is brother to many things” (Goldstein and Chrisman 59). His poems are considered to be a unique treasure that teaches the reader to be careful with each person and with each detail in this life.
Children are usually so absent-minded and so blind, and their understanding of parents’ duties leads to a wrong way, the way that makes them be upset with own parents. Those Winter Sundays should open each reader’s eyes and prove that in this world, there are only two people, who can sacrifice everything to you, and they are your parents.
Formann, Wiebke. Family Portrayals in “A Ballad of Remembrance” – How Robert Hayden Dealt with His “Greatest Discouragement”. Norderstedt Germany: GRIN Verlag, 2007. Print.
Goldstein, Laurence and Chrisman, Robert. Robert Hayden: Essays on the Poetry. Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2001. Print.
Greasley, Philip. Dictionary of Midwestern Literature: The Authors. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2001. Print.
Hayden, Robert. “Those Winter Sundays.” Poet Seers. 31 Oct. 2009. <http://www.poetseers.org/poetry/winter-sundays/>