"Those Winter Sundays" expressed one clear and concise theme or meaning throughout the work. The central theme of this poem is that what others do for another is not always appreciated fully until it is too late. This idea is expressed most vividly in the first and last stanzas.
"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..."
"Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know of love's austere and lonely offices?"
The first stanza shows this theme and his regret through the unbalanced sentences. He now recognizes that he never gave his father enough credit for his hard work for the family. He spoke "indifferently" to his father, showing a lack of acknowledgement of his dad's labor. The final question the speaker asks at the end of this poem displays that he lacked an understanding of what it took to raise a family and keep everyone well. In this poem they show that they have now reached that understanding; however, it is now too late to go back and thank his father.