Full Moon and Little Frieda Analysis



A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a bucket - 
And you listening. 
A spider's web, tense for the dew's touch. 
A pail lifted, still and brimming - mirror 
To tempt a first star to a tremor. 

Cows are going home in the lane there, looping the hedges with their warm 
wreaths of breath - 
A dark river of blood, many boulders, 
Balancing unspilled milk. 
'Moon!' you cry suddenly, 'Moon! Moon!' 

The moon has stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at a work 
That points at him amazed.


Frieda was the daughter of poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. She was about two when this poem was written.


To understand what Hughes is trying to communicate through the poem, we must consider that the poem is written to express his feelings to his daughter Frieda. Much of it is also expressing her point of view. Hughes begins his poem telling us that “a cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a bucket”. Being merely two years of age when this poem was written, Frieda’s mind couldn’t absorb much. Her ‘small’ mind is only able to take in minute details, and hence for her, the only two things that she was able to enthrall, was what her evening ‘shrunk’ to. The poet uses extremely specific aural imagery like the ‘dog’s bark’ and the ‘clank of a bucket’, aiding him to freeze this moment in the poem. He then says, “And you listening”. He makes direct communication with a reader. When one realizes he is being addressed, he becomes alert – which is what any writer or poet desires.

The poet compares Frieda’s mind to a “spider web” and the dew’s touch may be an implied symbolism for life’s experiences and its beauty. He portrays Frieda as if she is eager to know more. Through the metaphor, Hughes brings out the receptiveness and fragility of her mind. He then loads us with another image of a “pail lifted”. A pail is used to accumulate something. One notices...