Free Essay

Real Life


Submitted By jbballer
Words 840
Pages 4
* * * * Home * Mandy's Book Mart * Authors & Books * Author Spotlight * Book Reviews * Welcome to Mandy's Pages * Letters from Mandy * Site Map * Writer's Corner * Friday's Stars * The Blogging Booth * Reading Room * Literary Lounge * Resources * Terms of Service * Writing Guidelines * Mandy's Market * Contests * Annual Tanka Contest * Tanka Time * Where Tanka Prose Grows
Poetry Analysis: Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden
Written by Kerry Michael Wood
User Rating: / 9
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
Poetry Analysis: Those Winter Sundays
(Poem by Robert Hayden)
I met Bob Hayden in the late 1970s when I, a callow high-school teacher, joined him and others in a textbook authorship project. I was in awe of the former poet laureate of Senegal and later America's first black poet laureate. A soft-spoken gentleman behind thick-lensed glasses, he put me at ease with his unassuming camaraderie.

He didn't speak much about himself. Other co-authors and editors sketched for me his early life: the fact that he had no birth certificate but was born with the name Asa Bundy Sheffey of parents who then separated; how at 18 months he was given to next-door neighbors who renamed him, though he was never legally adopted; how once he became a literary figure, he refused to be called a Negro poet and by so doing won the friendship and respect of Harlem Renaissance writers like Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes. I treasure my memory of Robert Hayden.

Robert Hayden's tribute to his foster father demonstrates the effectiveness of understatement, brevity and artful imagery. Mingled with respectful memories of the father figure is his realization of the ingratitude that commonly accompanies youth. He is ashamed of having taken for granted the self-sacrificing duties routinely performed morning after morning by his hard-working and undemonstrative parent. Sundays too my father got up early and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, then with his 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? In line one the common three-lettered word "too" is packed with meaning. Sunday is the day of rest. A working man should be able to sleep later than on working days. But such was not the case for the man the poet called father.

He rose early and set about the tasks of making the arising of the rest of his family less uncomfortable than it had been for himself. The key images are of cold and heat, and they are rendered visually and audibly. In line two, "blueblack cold" recalls the blue-bottle ice of winter streets in the ghetto neighborhood of Detroit where the poet spent his boyhood.

That coldness expressed more than the room temperature that the father was attempting to ameliorate by stirring banked fires into flame. Such chill also describes the presumptuous and ungrateful attitude of the rest of the household, none of whom ever thanked the man for his efforts on their behalf. The past tense of the poem shows that a regretful realization of blind ingratitude has since dawned on the speaker. His backward look at his father is belatedly warm and appreciative.

In stanza two the words "cold, splintering breaking" reinforce the image of the earlier "blueblack" ice that was both climatic and situational. "Splintering" makes the image both audible and visual as well as tactile. The "chronic angers" bespeak the unhappiness of the domestic situation and an emotional heat or chill that brings no comfort.

It never occurred to the youthful speaker to thank the man who rose early not only to warm the house but also to polish the shoes that his son would wear to church.

The speaker/poet's shame and remorse are poignant in his concluding rhetorical questions. The first "What did I know" suggests a generalized lack of knowledge and understanding of the self-sacrifice of others - a deficiency made understandable though not excusable by the speaker's youth and inexperience. Then "what did I know of love's austere and lonely offices" conveys mature realization of duties one performs willingly and in isolation for loved ones. The selection of "offices" as the poem's final word is brilliant in its denotative and connotative expression of functions dutifully performed without expectation of appreciation or thanks.

The adjective "austere" describes not only the tasks performed but also the man performing them. The elder Hayden was a severe, stern person not given to demonstrations of familial affection. None of that is elaborated in the poem but is conveyed in the metonymous "chronic angers" of a household where fear was a constant and expressions of grateful recognition were absent.


Similar Documents

Free Essay

The Real Essence of Life

...THE REAL ESSENCE OF LIFE Many of the people often times failed to discover the beauty of having differences in a community. The mind setting of the many is to conquer differences and consider one thing in common. What could be the possible effect of this mentality to the society? Whatever religion we fight for is not a hindrance upon achieving a peaceful society. We all have the right to choose what we knew our heart is shouting for. It is still believed that we have a life to live and a spirit to lift. For whatever reason it might be for all of us, we are all gifted with the same being. We only differ on what we profess and what we worship. Yet it is not necessary that we should force other people to believe on what we know is right to believe. The only thing that is left in us is to stay to what we believe, not to destroy what other people has built in them. We are one people though we belong to different religions, countries, etc. It should tell us now that the difference in us does not suggest that we are to treat our neighbors with different levels depending on their position in the society they belong. We are all one if we believe that we can be together though we are coming from different origins. We ought to respect our own brothers and sisters since we are responsible for each other. If we proclaim in our selves the beauty of diversity, we will have altogether a united community. The thing is we have a mentality that only us understands. ...

Words: 736 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Life of Pi: Real or Fiction

...It is true that people should believe above all whatever they see but, if they just sit to ponder over all the things that they believe in and accept as truth and have never seen, the list would be never ending. Fiction and non fiction both play an important role in a reader's life, but the line between the two can sometimes be blurred. Defining the genre of book can greatly effect the reader's experience and interpretation of that book, especially when it comes to Yann Martel's Life of Pi. The novel is presented in interview style which may suggest it is a true story, but there is solid evidence behind the fact that it is a work of fiction. For example, the main character manages to stay alive for 227 days with little to no food supply, when in reality no human could go that long. Also, he is accompanied by a dangerous Bengal tiger who would have most likely ate him alive the first chance he got. On top of that, there are places mentioned in the book such as a man eating floating island made out of algae that are completely non existent. Despite any disagreeing evidence, Life of Pi is purely a fiction novel. Not only is this book fiction, it is also highly unrealistic. Pi Patel, the main character, is able to survive 227 with very sparse food and water. At one point in the book, a wave takes away the majority of his food that he was saving and he leaves him with little to nothing. Research shows that humans can only last a maximum of 40 days with no food, and maximum 7 days...

Words: 619 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Science Meets Real Life

...Page 1 Science Meets Real Life Science Meets Real Life Jackie Hoskins SC300 November 13, 2011 Page 2 The scientific method involves using several steps in order to reach a conclusion about a particular inquiry.   The steps are basically an investigation process.   The method is an ongoing cycle day in and day out.   Some of the steps in the scientific method occur at the same time, in a different order or even can be repeated during the experiment in order to improve the conclusion. ( 2011). What steps are taken? Typically, the scientific method involves the following steps: First, ask a question or other questions in relation to the subject or topic. The questions need to be specific in order to provide direct focus to the inquiry.   Secondly, research the topic. The research needs to be detailed in order to learn as much as possible to help with your question. Third, formulate a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a statement regarding the cause and effect of the situation surrounding your question. Fourth, Test the hypothesis. Testing involves the planning and carrying out of a procedure or set of procedures to gather data ( 2011). Whether we know it or not the scientific method is being used in everything we do. Take for instance that I arrive at home after dark and after opening the door I reach for the light switch and when I flip the switch to turn the light on nothing happens. I ask myself why is the light out?   Or ask myself did...

Words: 1451 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

People Should Be Held Accountable In Real Life

...5, 4, 3, 2, 1, DEATH HAS OCCURRED SOMEWHERE AROUND THE WORLD because someone decided to risk their life going and doing something when they know about the dangers that could happen along the way or at the specified location. Whether it is because of a dare, a bet, or just because a person thinks they’re stronger than the forces of life and death, someone is dying every 5 minutes, every 30 minutes, every 1 hour because of a bad choice that a person or group of people make(this is probably why the news will live on forever ha-ha, but jokes aside). Because of this brings up the statement of whether people in life-or-death situations should be held accountable for their actions and to this I say yes; people should as opposed to others being on the side of no, people should not be held accountable for their actions in a life-or-death situation....

Words: 487 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Accepting Real Life

...ACCEPTING REAL LIFE -Everything in life that we really accept undergoes a change- Accepting and blessing our circumstances is a powerful tool for transformation. In fact, this potent combination is a spiritual elixir that can work miracles in our lives. What is acceptance? Acceptance is surrendering to what is: our circumstances, our feelings, our problems, our financial status, our work, our health, our relationships with other people, the delay of our dreams. Before we can change anything in our life we have to recognize that this is the way it’s meant to be right now. For me, acceptance has become what I call the long sigh of the soul. It’s the closed eyes in prayer, perhaps even the quiet tears. It’s “all right,” as in “All right, You lead, I’ll follow.” And it’s “all right,” as in “Everything is going to turn out all right.” This is simply part of our journey. Over the years I have discovered that much of my struggle to be content despite outside circumstances has arisen when I stubbornly resisted what was actually happening in my life at the present moment. But I have also learned that when I surrender to the reality of a particular situation—when I don’t continue to resist, but accept—a softening in my soul occurs. Suddenly I am able to open up to receive all the goodness and abundance available to me because acceptance brings with it so much relief and release. It’s as if all the steam of struggle has been allowed to escape from life’s pressure cooker...

Words: 425 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

A Real Life Nightmare

...A Real Life Nightmare By: Danyelle J Lieneck The full moon lit up the water that night. The water was calm and there was not another boat in sight. As my parents, my sister Brianna, my friend Alissa and I traveled home from Fire Island; there was not a sound except for the engine of the boat running. As I looked up in the distance I saw a light and kidding around with Brianna and Alissa I said, “hey look a UFO” and they both laughed. All of a sudden I heard a bang. I closed my eyes and grabbed onto the pole right next to me. The boat was spinning; I heard screaming, and my Dad say something. Then everything came to a sudden stop; I got up and looked at the horrifying scene that surrounded me. I saw my father pulling himself up onto his seat, his eyes swollen shut, blood pouring down his face; he was confused and incoherent. Next to me was my mother, grabbing onto the side of the boat, her arm only attached by a few pieces of skin, her flesh cut open, her bone sticking out, blood pouring down from her face. My friend was screaming and I quickly snapped at her to shut up. This was not the time for her to be acting like this. There was an even bigger problem then the bloody scene around me; everyone was accounted for except for my sister. I looked around and realized that lying on the floor underneath the canopy that used to be the top of my boat was my sister, motionless and decrepit. I immediately went to her side and lifted off the heavy canopy and pushed it away. She was...

Words: 1471 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

It Is Only Worth Watching Movies That Can Teach Us Something About Real Life, Agree or Disagree?

...It is only worth watching movies that can teach us something about real life, agree or disagree? I don’t agree with this statement.In my opinion,all wovies can be,more or less,instructive and beneficial to us. Movies have become an important means of entertainment for modern people.Whether they are science fiction movies ,historical movies or movies that illustrate modern life,most of them are based on the prevailing social perspective and are consistent with our current value systems.When going to the theatre to spend a pleasant weekend,we don’t have to be too selective to watch movies which are meant to “teach” us.In fact,all movies can be,more or less,instructive and we are fully justified to choose whatever we like in the movie theatre. Different movies reflect various aspects of our real life.What we will learn from the movie all depends on how we comprehend these intructive information incorporated within the movies.Some people prefer to watch science fiction movies which not only fulfills their imagination for the future but also evokes their interest in real life science study;some people enjoy historical themes because they find many similarities between historical figure and contemporary people.They find most of the movie characters’ maneuvers still practical in real life;Others,including me,choose to watch movies that illustrate modern life.I discover many novelties from the movies:from basic physics principles in “The big bang theory”,to the breathtaking...

Words: 358 - Pages: 2

Free Essay


...Nathan Hale 12/14/06 Urban Inventions Refuge We all have it. It’s a part of everyday life and it wears down on us. The strain is what wears down on us slowly whittling away years of our lives. This being the case, why are we not already dead? The answer is relaxation, try it. No really, right now, put down this paper, close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it for eleven seconds, now slowly and as quietly as possible exhale through your mouth. Did you feel your shoulders drop? That’s a lot of tension you just let go of. Believe it or not you’ve been carrying with you all day. We should take thirty second out of our day every chance we get to do this because we need to relax or unwind. This is an example of a refuge in its simplest form. Refuge is known as many different things; retreat, vacation, or break. The list goes on and on. We live such high anxiety lives that we need to take breaks periodically. The real question is how? There’s a place in everyone’s fantasy that they long to visit the mountains, a room in a relative’s house, a tropical island. These places are individual and beautiful. And just like beauty, it’s in the eye of the beholder as to what their refuge is I have many refuges, some real and some imaginary. For example, one of my imaginary refuges is an island in the middle of a large lake. But this is no ordinary lake; it’s located on top of and in the middle of a volcano’s crater. And when I sit on my beach house’s...

Words: 1320 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

My Virtual Child

...An essay on my virtual child by Kara Lamb: The gender of my child is male; I named him Nathan after my real life partner. Like my first attempt the program gave us a girl when Nathan was around the age of 3, of which I named Marley. I did not seek outside help for this trial or have help from my real life partner. The application I wanted to focus on was language and how it develops over the time in my virtual child. In early infancy we start to see reflexive cries. An example of this,” Nathan's crying is rhythmic and moderately loud when he is hungry, wet, or cold. If he is startled” (Manis, 2008). Around three months I started to notice Nathan attending to many sounds “Nathan smiles at familiar people and toys, is able to laugh at surprising or funny things” (Manis, 2008). As Nathan is going in ninth month he begins to show Jargon, Gestures and final by twelve months he shows complete Holo Phrases, “nine months old, Nathan began to understand a few words and point to something he wanted. At twelve months old, Nathan now clearly understands a couple of dozen words. In fact, Nathan just recently pronounced his first clear word and pointed at the object in question”. After Nathan second birthday does he only begin to develop telegraphic speech but still struggles to understand simple directions and test below average even into his third year report card; “He scored below average in language comprehension and production” (Manis, 2008). To help with this I chose...

Words: 789 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Student Adversity

...Nicholas Nguyen Professor Wagenhoffer English 100 19 September 2014 Humans have a natural affinity towards overcoming challenges and difficult adversity. Throughout life, we adapt to challenges and master the ability to surmount obstacles. Despite the difficulties we experience, the process of overcoming complications allows us to become more knowledgeable on the task at hand. However, it is not just the conquering of adversity that is beneficial, but the adversity itself has positive effects on the challenged. Adversity allows an individual to develop a sense of discipline, as well as encouraging individuals to exercise their mind to confront a problem or conflict. Specifically, students who encounter hardships are more inclined to try harder, which promotes competition within the school. Although adversity may be beneficial towards some students, challenges can be detrimental for students who lack confidence. For instance, some students develop a mentality of despair; they believe that if one has to work hard, then the person does not have the natural ability for the assignment. Based on the effects of adversity aforementioned, I believe that students can both benefit from the obstacles faced in school with the proper mentality or the effects could be hindering. Students face adversity every day, regardless of how transparent the obstacle may be; some problems may not be as evident as others. According to Carol S. Dweck, author of Brainology, all students face adversities...

Words: 1029 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay


...Hero The Glass Castle is a memoir written by Jeannette Walls. It examines her struggle as a child and living in poverty as a young adult. She faces many challenges that helps her to become self-sufficient and successful in life. One of those challenges is her dad Rex. He is an alcoholic and he was also irresponsible. Even though Rex was irresponsible, Walls wrote about all the best times she spent with her dad. Despite all that Rex put the family through, Jeannette still loved him for two main reasons: first, for his constant ability to make her feel special, and second, because he is a never-ending source of inspiration. One thing Rex puts the family through is all the moving. They moved a total of four times from Arizona to Battle Mountain to Phoenix and then to Welch. At times Rex would just say “‘Okay, kids’ Dad said ‘the civilians are revolting. We better Skedaddle.’” (Walls109). Skedaddle means to get going and move, but in Rex’s language it meant to move to a new city and take whatever you can put in your pockets. He wasn’t a man that would take many things with him when he would move anywhere, and so he made his family do the same. Rex would always reassure Jeannette that everything is okay and he would make her feel comfortable about the situation they are in. She saw her father like a hero, saving them from the bad guys every time they moved, at least when they were younger. Rex’s ability to make Jeannette feel unique is on of the main reasons why she still holds...

Words: 952 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Racing In The Rain Symbolism

...Ever wondered what a dog is thinking? Well, in Racing in the Rain a 2011 heartbreaking novel a race car driver’s beloved pet imparts wisdom and life lessons in retelling his own story from a canine perspective. With wit and peculiar charm, Enzo tells of the stages of a dog’s life and the wonderful and distressing days spent with his hero, Denny Swift a struggling race car driver supporting a young family in Seattle, with a sick wife. They understand each other perfectly, and from day one, Enzo accepts the position of being Denny’s comforter and guide. He’s front and center whenever Denny struggles in his home life or career, and there are times when Enzo struggles too. Enzo has difficulty accepting change. The first human to enter Enzo’s inner...

Words: 1514 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

She Kills Monsters Critique

...really didn’t know her sister as well as she thought she did. She thought she was just a nerd, but really, Tilly was strong and powerful. They kept this entertaining by working this lesson into the Dungeons and Dragons game and adding comedy to lighten the mood. This play was definitely doing. I, along with at least a majority of the audience in the auditorium loved it. I could tell this by the audiences’ reaction to “She Kills Monsters”. They laughed throughout the entire show at all of the humorous parts, were quiet at all of the serious parts, and seemed quite intrigued overall. I really enjoyed the lesson that I walked away with as well. Not only was this an entertaining play, but it made me realize that I need to maybe do more in my own life to make sure I get to know my own little sister. You never...

Words: 627 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Engl 100 Essay

...non-stop developments of socioeconomics, it is an undeniable truth that technologies and social networks are playing a vital role in our daily life. We have come to the new era of communication when people can contact each other everywhere, at every moment. Thus, technologies are now the dominant factor in our communication today, since we have such an exceptional access to information and people. Truly, geographic limitation is now destroyed in terms of communication. However, we are becoming more ignorant about how these technologies are affecting our life every day. We are abusing these communicating methods without acknowledging that our life and our own personalities are being spoiled. As a consequence, these technologies are bringing the lacks of social interaction, distraction, and the decayed expression of languages and emotions. The rise of technologies is leading to the collapse of our communication. Technologies are ruining social interaction among humans. Without a doubt, technologies have dominated our choices of interacting with each other. While the purpose of technologies was to improve the communication between humans, people now prefer using these tools to talk, rather than face-to-face conversations. In fact, human civilization has been always developed based on the connection between people, but now, we are losing that real connection in order to exchange for a virtual one. As a case in point, today, we can easily see people, especially teenagers, going around...

Words: 2198 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

The Life

...The Life Less Taken The Life Less Taken In the poem “Alzheimer’s”, Kelly Cherry describes Alzheimer’s disease by observing a man’s life, as he experiences a new lifestyle, all while showing the effects of dementia and the disease. The setting of the poem and the narrator’s fluctuating tone convey multiple emotions and thoughts to allow readers a glance into not only the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, but the struggles as well. The speaker’s tone progresses from an attitude of acceptance to an attitude of great concern; and finally to an attitude that describes the seriousness of the setting at certain times. When the man is introduced into the poem, he is described as crazy with a mind that he is not accustomed to. As the setting is further elaborated upon, the man is overcome with worry and he begins to question the important things. The speaker indicates the man is no longer the man he used to be right at the beginning. As the story continues to unfold, the setting and tone is built upon by adding the house and mentioning his belongings such as the piggy bank. By describing his memory and what the man has forgotten, the narrator is implying important, significant, and unimportant things in the old man’s life. As the poem is read, the tone and setting identified by the narrator allows the reader to catch a glimpse of how Alzheimer’s disease has not only affected the man, but how the disease could affect the reader. Alzheimer’s...

Words: 1506 - Pages: 7