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My Favorite Poem

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

It occurred to me today, in the midst of so much fear and anger and way too much use of the word "unprecedented," that what the world needs right now (that I am capable of offering) is more poetry. More words that hold worlds. More phrases that roll off your tongue. More sentences that capture ultimate truth in five or six words.

So, here you go. Poetry. My favorite poem.

Those Winter Sundays

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?


Robert Hayden, “Those Winter Sundays” from Collected Poems of Robert Hayden, edited by Frederick Glaysher.

Copyright ©1966 by Robert Hayden. Reprinted with the permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation.

Source: Collected Poems of Robert Hayden (Liveright Publishing Corporation, 1985)

Copyright 2020

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