Do you know what something is but have trouble putting the definition into words? This is how I feel about poetry. Trying to come up with a definition is hard because putting the definition into words narrows down and degrades the resilience of this art form. This is what I have come up with, poetry is a form of literature that expresses the feelings and ideas of the poet. Poets very rarely come out and say clearly what they are thinking or feeling they like to put a twist to the poem and often use words that you have to look up in the dictionary.
Also, you often have to read it several times before you understand what they are trying to say. In addition, some poets believe poetry is an expression of feelings with no rules, other poets think poetry is about rules. Through Robert Hayden’s ominous word choice, powerful repetition, and poignant portrayal of unending love, his poem ‘Those Winter Sundays’ distinguishes itself as a bittersweet familial love poem.
There are times in our lives when we look back that we regret, or we wished we would’ve done differently. In Hayden’s cold and monotone poem, the speaker has matured and realizes his father’s love. The speaker now understands how difficult and thankless it can be as a parent.
In the first line of the poem you can see the love and loyalty the father has for his son, ‘Sundays too my father got up early.
’ With the use of father instead of dad or daddy implies their relationship may have had problems and was cold. At the ending of the first stanza, ‘No one ever thanked him’ is precise and meaningful. By putting this at the end of the stanza shows the loneliness of the father. The second stanza uses the words ‘cold splintering’ and ‘chronic angers’ are powerful words that show the love of the father towards his family. He will be the first one up to get the cold house warmed up before the rest of the family rises.
The repetitious ‘k’ sounding words ‘cold, ‘ ‘cracked, ‘ and ‘ached’ to show the pain in the father’s life. The word choice also shows that the father works hard with little pay using his hands in order to provide for his family. The final stanza of the poem the repetition of ‘o’ is used. Words like ‘good, ‘ ‘love, ‘ and ‘lonely’ are now used. Repetition was also found with the phrase ‘what did I know.’
As the speaker gets older and looks back on his childhood, he realizes the things his father did to show his love. By getting the house warm before he woke up and having polished shoes are small things that show the fathers love. The final phrase ‘love’s austere and lonely offices’ describes how complex a parents love can be. The speaker does not understand how difficult and the sacrifices a parent makes to raise a family. ‘Offices’ implies that the father loved his son so much that his life revolved around him. Love is often silent and behind the scenes.
Robert Hayden’s ‘Those Winter Sunday’ displays the complex relationship between father and son. With his word choice, repetition, and portrayal of unending love, this poem distinguishes itself as a bittersweet familial love poem. Through these techniques Hayden shows a multifaceted relationship, marked by sacrifice and suffering.