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“Full Moon and Little Frieda” by Ted Hughes

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 792
  • Category: Moon Poems

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From the title, we can gather that the poem will involve a full moon. “Little Frieda” refers to his daughter. The fact that the word “little” is used tells us that Frieda is a very important to the author.

From the first line, “A cool small evening”, we can immediately feel the calmness of the rhythm. The use of a caesura directly afterwards puts an immediate focus on the line “And you listening”. The word “you” involves the reader directly. “A spider’s web, tense for the dew’s touch.” is not a very explanatory line. It leaves you nervous, waiting for the end of the story. It very much accentuates the silence and it shows us that it is set in the countryside. The word “pail” could also refer to something being pale, such as the moon and milk. The fact that the pail is “still and brimming” puts a real emphasis on the stillness of the evening. The alliteration in “To tempt a first star to a tremor” makes the sentence flow smoothly, but also gives us a further impression of tenseness. The fact that “cows are going home in the lane there” confirms that this is set in the countryside, possibly on a farm. The fact that the cows are in the “lane there” says immediately that the author is standing close enough to see the cows, but that he is stationary.

The theme of the countryside is again emphasized with the word “hedges”. The phrase “warm wreaths of breath” personifies the cow’s breath into a wreath, again linking back to nature, as well as showing us that it is a cool evening. “Wreaths” could also relate to the shape of the moon as being round. “A dark river of blood, many boulders” demonstrates that there are many cows and that they are all extremely large. A river also tends to have many turns and be very large, therefore this phrase demonstrates the large amount of cows and that they are occupying much of the winding country lane. The line “Balancing unspilled milk” reinforces the tenseness of the evening. Milk also relates to the color of the moon.

“‘Moon!’ you cry suddenly, ‘Moon! Moon!'” The use of the word “you” is very personal and very endearing. It gives a clear sense that the author is proud of his daughter. The fact that only one word is repeated many times could indicate that the word is new to Frieda. This was written at the time Ted Hughes’ daughter, Frieda, was approximately 2 years old. This is around the time that young children experiment with words, so the word “moon” could be new and, consequently, special to Frieda. The idea that the moon then “stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at his work” is a very clear personification of the moon. The moon is personified to be the author, who is very proud of his daughter. The fact that the moon “stepped back” could mean that the moon is disappearing behind a cloud, or a least partially out of sight. Frieda was gazing at the moon amazed at this phenomenon and looking up into the sky into the universe, amazed. The moon is also apparently staring back at her, amazed at the creation that it has produced. In this case, the moon could represent the entire universe. “That points at him amazed” clearly dictates that Frieda is pointing at the moon, totally mesmerized by it.

The tone of this poem is admiring, curious, loving, and slightly sinister (“unspilled milk” and “a dark river of blood”). The author clearly loves his daughter massively and he is fascinated by her, just as she is fascinated by the universe and, in particular, the moon. The structure of the poem was very effective in conveying the necessary emphasis on certain parts of the poem. We are told the story from the point of view of the author (Frieda’s father), however the use of diction is extremely effective in communicating her emotions and her reactions to different events. The poet uses a lot of imagery and metaphors, as well as juxtaposing many different objects and many possible meanings. The poet is attempting to covey the message of the wonder of nature and it’s creation which is effectively done through the use of description and imagery. This is extremely positive and delightful message.

The author has succeeded in conveying a message through interesting use of description, diction and metaphors. The structure has put emphasis on what was necessary, creating a flowing and easy to read poem. I very much like this poem as the author creates, through subtle means, very clear images and a very touching scene that reads very enjoyably.

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