Robert Hayden's poem Those Winter Sundays retells a grown man's perspective of his father. The speaker is the man remembering his Father waking up early in the morning before sunrise to make a fire in their home. It was unfortunate that no one had thanked the Father for doing this everyday. Before his laboring weekday outside in the winter cold, he still woke each day before his family and warmed the house. The speaker even tells us that his Father even polished his good shoes. These details in the poem describe the Father as being a hardworking individual, who is concerned about the well being of his family.
The poem's tone shifts in the beginning from a cold, harsh tone to a warmer comforting tone by the seventh line. Although by line nine the poem's tone shifts again to a negative uncomfortable tone. The cold, harshness of the tone described in the first stanza reflects through the coldness of the house, the Father's cracked achy hands and the fact that no one has ever thanked him. By the seventh line the house is warm and the tone has seemed to shift to a more comforting feeling. Although the cold has escaped from the house and there is warmth inside but the tone once again changes by the ninth line. The tone described here becomes fearful of the constant angers in the house. By the third stanza the poem" tone is unwelcoming and I think very sad as the third stanza ends. The unwelcome tone is described by the boy's unconcern and lack of emotion for his father, who has warmed their house everyday and even polished his for him. The speaker confesses, "What did I know, what did I know of love's austere and lonely offices?" The Father's actions proved his unadorned love and loneliness by doing these chores for his family. The tone set in the last two lines of the third quatrain is sad but questionable because it is a confused narrative of the speaker who was unadorned by his father's lonely services of chores he has done for his family.