Robert Hayden: Poems

An Old Regret: Analyzing "Those Winter Sundays 12th Grade

Robert Hayden described the relationship between his father and younger self in his poem “Those Winter Sundays.” Robert Hayden grew up in a poor neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan. Since his parents left him with family friends, he grew up with that family and didn’t know his real name until he was forty years old. Hayden also taught at a couple universities and published several of his collections of poetry throughout his lifetime; written retrospectively, this particular poem is about his “adopted father” and the relationship between the two of them. Hayden, the speaker of the poem, regrets how he treated his father as he grew up. Despite the father's hard work and efforts to show his love, Hayden failed to appreciate and recognize this man's gestures.

Hayden’s father endeavored to be the diligent caretaker that every family desires. In the poem, the speaker explains that “Sundays too my father got up early” (1). This has implied that the father woke up early for work or to take care of business every day. Even on a worldly known day of rest, he awoke at dawn to be sure everything is completed that is required for that day. His father also worked often, and it is safe to assume that he gets up quite early for that as well....

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