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Recite Tonight: Those Winter Sundays


As Laurie wrote last Friday, memorizing and reciting a poem for your loved ones during family dinner is a long-treasured and, sadly, often overlooked way to share the beauty and strength that poetry brings to our lives. It is truly one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your family.

When put together with care, seemingly simple words become beautiful, powerful expressions of the most profound human experiences including love, loss, longing, loneliness and celebration. Poetry touches us because, as Dr. Maya Angelou said, “Poetry does the most incredible thing. It helps us to realize that human beings are more alike than we are unalike.” Someone, at some point, felt exactly what you, your daughter, husband, brother or friend are feeling right now. It may have been centuries ago, but what it is to be human endures, connecting us to one another through time and distance. It is through this expression of our shared experiences that we find comfort, guidance and support.

This is why we can’t think of a better place to connect with the power of poetry than when you’re connecting with each other around the dinner table! This winter evening, recite “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden and see what happens: Who liked it? How did it make everyone feel? Did it remind them of anything? What did it mean to them?

You may be surprised by the responses, especially yours!

Those Winter Sundays

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?



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One Response

  1. Jill says:

    wow! i love this poem!

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