A little while ago we wrote about legendary Avant garde-ists from the UK This Heat! Who later went on to form an intriguing side project called Flaming Tunes. Which is less challenging than This Heat and worth a listen.
Their track Generous Moon declares its affiliation to Sylvia Plath & specifically her poem The Thin People, which is a great excuse to revisit that.
They are always with us, the thin people
Meagre of dimension as the gray people
On a movie-screen. They
Are unreal, we say:
It was only in a movie, it was only
In a war making evil headlines when we
Were small that they famished and
Grew so lean and would not round
Out their stalky limbs again though peace
Plumped the bellies of the mice
Under the meanest table.
It was during the long hunger-battle
They found their talent to persevere
In thinness, to come, later,
Into our bad dreams, their menace
Not guns, not abuses,
But a thin silence.
Wrapped in flea-ridded donkey skins,
Empty of complaint, forever
Drinking vinegar from tin cups: they wore
The insufferable nimbus of the lot-drawn
Scapegoat. But so thin,
So weedy a race could not remain in dreams,
Could not remain outlandish victims
In the contracted country of the head
Any more than the old woman in her mud hut could
Keep from cutting fat meat
Out of the side of the generous moon when it
Set foot nightly in her yard
Until her knife had pared
The moon to a rind of little light.
Now the thin people do not obliterate
Themselves as the dawn
Grayness blues, reddens, and the outline
Of the world comes clear and fills with color.
They persist in the sunlit room: the wallpaper
Frieze of cabbage-roses and cornflowers pales
Under their thin-lipped smiles,
Their withering kingship.
How they prop each other up!
We own no wilderness rich and deep enough
For stronghold against their stiff
Battalions. See, how the tree boles flatten
And lose their good browns
If the thin people simply stand in the forest,
Making the world go thin as a wasp’s nest
And grayer; not even moving their bones.
And reflect that she was a worthy inspiration.
[NB. Sylvia Plath also inspired many other singers from Patti Smith & Ralph McTell to Tracey Thorn including Ryan Adams who wrote a song called Sylvia Plath (surprisingly and with less subtlety than Flaming Tunes) about her .. that and 13 other poetically inspired songs can be found on this enticing link]