Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details

Love’s lonely offices



Photo courtesy Eric Olson


My thanks to lover of art and beauty Inger Gregory for reconnecting me with the following gem of poet Robert Hayden’s.


Photo courtesy David Campbell / http://gbctours.com


When I was much younger, those words, “What did I know, what did I know …” stopped me in my tracks; humbled me, the first time I heard them. Today, they become a question to take into each day, and even make present-tense.


Those Winter Sundays

by Robert Hayden
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 angers of that house, 

Speaking indifferently to him, 
who had driven 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?

Poem courtesy of http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/those-winter-sundays

3 thoughts on “Love’s lonely offices

  1. What a lovely poem that speaks to the quiet sacrifices made of a father towards his family. I love the images. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I think that’s his most famous; pretty wondrous!

  3. Such a powerful and evocative poem. An example
    of how real love can be such a lonely and thankless thing, but given all the same. Thank you.

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