Those Winter Sundays
How we cite our quotes:
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. (1-5)
These first few lines set the scene of the poem and introduce us to the speaker’s father, who works really hard, every day of the week, to support his family. He does physical labor (that’s why his hands are cracked and ache) and he wakes up really early in the morning to warm up the house for his family. This is how the father expresses his love; not through hugs, but through waking up at 5 am. That's dedication.
No one ever thanked him. (5)
Sounds like the guy could use a break! Or even just an occasional thank-you hug, right? Maybe a nice watch on Father's Day?
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well. (9-12)
Here the speaker, as a child, seems only to focus on his emotional relationship with his father—the “chronic anger” of their home. What he neglects is the way his old man lit the fires and polished his kid's shoes. His father shows love by doing, not by saying, and this flies over the head of the little guy. Understandable, but still heart-wrenching.