Those Winter Sundays.

Boy

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 weekday weather
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 anger 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 loves austere and lonely offices.

Robert Hayden.