Those Winter Sundays   Robert Hayden 1913-1980

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 anger of the house.

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had turned 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.