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Those Winter Sundays
Those Winter Sundays
by Robert Hayden
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Offices

Symbol Analysis

The final lines of the poem, “What did I know, what did I know / of love’s austere and lonely offices?” really pack a punch. They’re so sad, so remorseful, so full of regret and the kind of understanding that comes with age. But they get even more powerful when you consult your handy-dandy dictionary and look up the word “office.” Remember, Shmoopers, the dictionary is your friend.

  • Line 14: In addition to meaning “workplace,” office can mean an official position or post. It can also refer to a duty or an obligation. An office can also refer to a service or form of worship in the Christian church. This one word, then, embodies so many of the feelings and duties that a father might express and perform with regard to his children. Love isn’t just about hugs and snuggles; “Those Winter Sundays” makes clear that love is about duty, responsibility, and obligation, too. Although snuggles never hurt.