“Full Moon and Little Frieda,” written by Ted Hughes, is about the memory of little Frieda, at two years old, noticing various things around her and also identifying the moon. Hughes conveys a sense of fascination throughout the poem through certain devices, metaphysical aspects and through the structure. The poem is a lyrical poem, which also adds to the fascination as lyrical poems are usually written as love poems. In the very first line, “A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a bucket,” onomatopoeia is used.
This line begins with a quiet mood and the sudden sound of a bark, signifying Frieda’s fascination with the dog and how quickly she noticed something new. The assonance in the third stanza, “wreaths of breath,” gives a very breathy sound when read. This could be shown as a sense of fascination on the father’s part where he is so astounded by his daughter that he is breathless. Another example of assonance refers to the fourth stanza when Frieda cries, “Moon! Moon! ” The repetition of the ‘oo’ sound sounds as though she is exclaiming in fascination at the moon now that she has realized its existence. A spider’s web, tense for the dew’s touch,” is a metaphor referring to Frieda’s fascinated mind and how it seems to trap the images around her, as well as it being delicate, being a young mind. Personification is revealed in the fifth stanza as “the moon stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at a work” shows fascination from the moon onto Frieda, in this case. Hughes conveys to the reader a sense that this scene is a part of a bigger picture, therefore employing the use of metaphysics.
The metaphysical aspects are shown throughout as Frieda’s mind goes from “a cool small evening” to the moon; her fascination slowly reveals a bigger scene each time. Frieda recognizes the pain as a mirror and “tempt(s) a first star to a tremor,” meaning she has also realized the reflection of the alluring sky in the tiny bucket by attempting to shake the pail and therefore shake the sky. As Frieda notices the moon and “points at him amazed,” she seems enthralled at the centre of the huge scenery her mind has painted.
The poem ends with the moon, “stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at a work,” which shows a metaphysical aspect complementing Frieda’s. The moon is looking down at all the small things that create the scene around him, while Frieda is a part of that scene. The structure, through the spacing and punctuation, shows different aspects of fascination. The stanzas are spaced, making it easier to read, painting the allusion of a nursery rhyme, which is what Frieda related what she notices to.
Also the random spacing, especially the enjambment “of a bucket- and you listening,” could relate to Frieda’s mind and how it cannot stay on one thing too long as well as quickly noticing something new and appealing. The punctuation, as in “lifted, still and brimming – mirror,” forces one to read the poem at a slower pace, adding to the already reflective mood of the father adoring his child. The poet makes use of an apostrophe, as he seems to be speaking to Frieda directly adding to the allusion of the nursery rhyme.
Identifying the poem as a lyrical poem shows the father’s admiration for his little Frieda, as a different approach to the original theme of lyrical poems. “Full Moon and Little Frieda” proves fascination on three parts: Frieda, her father and the moon. Frieda, two years old, relates her newfound scenery to known nursery rhymes such as, “Hey Diddle Diddle (The Cow Jumped Over The Moon),” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider. ” Frieda’s happiness may have been short lived as her mother, Sylvia Plath, committed suicide the year after this poem was written.