I did some antecedant scenario for this poem.
Some of Robert Hayden's best known poems can me found in his collection A Ballad of Remembrance. Hayden was also the first African America to be appointed as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.
In my mind this poem was of realization. The narrator in the first stanzas does not realize that all the things his father does for him is out of love, he views the father as bitter and stern. The father does not ever show signs of affection and the narrator thinks that this means his father does not love him; moreover, he loves his work. The narrator then realizes in the very last stanza that the father shows his love for him through all those times he works in the cold and bitter days. The affection the father has for the narrator is shown through his actions not his words.