When I fisrt listened to the song of Syd Barrett – Rats,I was confused,I thought it might be something that appeared in his life,but I'm not sure. Is it dark? Or something related to drug?


Got it hit down Spot knock inside a spider Says: "That's love yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!" "That's love yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!" Says: "That's love, all know it TV, teeth, feet, peace, feel it "That's love yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!" "That's love yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!"

Like the fall that brings me to I like the fall that brings me to I like the cord around sinew I make a cord around sinew

Duck, the way to least is less Tea craving of the metal west 'ell tomorrow's rain and test 'ell tomorrow's rain and test Love an empty son and guess Love an empty son and guess Pimples dangerous and blessed

Heaving, arriving, tinkling Mingling jets and statuettes Seething wet we meeting fleck Seething wet we meeting fleck Lines and winds and crib and half Each fair day I give you half Of each fair day I give you half I look into your eyes and you, Flathe in the sun for you

Bam, spastic, tactile engine Heaving, crackle, slinky, dormy, roofy, wham I'll have them, fried bloke Broken jardy, cardy, smoocho, moocho, paki, pufftle Sploshette moxy, very smelly, Cable, gable, splintra, channel Top the seam he's taken off

Rats, rats lay down flat We don't need you, we act like that And if you think you're un-loved Then we know about that Rats, rats, lay down flat! Yes, yes, yes, yes, lay down flat!

  • ["Taunting and maniacal lyrics" ](en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrett_(album)). It's likely that, post-LSD, his mental state was somewhat broken, and the lyrics reflect that mood, rather than telling a particular story. Hard to get a definite answer to this, I'm guessing
    – Angst
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


I‘ve found this general comment in which the psychiatrist Thomas Szasz is mentioned (Fabrikation des Wahnsinns). In my opinion this are wordplays like you find in Dadaism. In the sixties was a kind of renaissance of this kind of poetry. John Lenneon wrote some essays too, and songs like the walrus.

Here is the comment:

General Comment:

"I expect many folks would characterize this as druggy ramblings; the impact of LSD and other drugs on Syd is probably overstated. IMO he was mentally ill, and also a genius (not an unusual combination). LSD and other psychedelics are known for their ability to provoke the release of psychotic symptoms, but in nearly all cases this is occurs with someone whose underlying mental illness is already present. (I tend more toward depression and anxiety, and can attest that--in my case, anyway--tripping always made things much worse.) Whether Syd was schizophrenic is harder to say. It does seem he became increasingly isolated and (using the shrink's jargon) in later stages displayed flattened affect i.e. blunted emotions. But is categorization necessary? I am reminded of Szasz and Breggin's theories that we put people in a box labelled "insane" if they act and speak in ways we find confusing (or irritating) -- and that it may be more appropriate to regard these not as symptoms of illness, but as creative methods to cope and to find meaning when one is confronted by an overwhelming spiritual crisis. The lyrics of "Rats" could be taken as "word salad" but I would consider a much more appropriate touchstone something akin to Finnegan's Wake, and other great works of stream-of-consciousness and/or surrealist literature. Also I would contend that such work resists analysis. Interpretation is irrelevant, and probably lessens one's enjoyment of the song. How does it sound, and how does it make you feel? That's what it means."

edit: sorry, I forgot the link!



Well to me the song's appeal was simply that it is, uniquely, in favour of rats. Maybe I misheard but I don't read the verse starting 'Dam, spastic' at all. To me the sequence is: (something like) Pam, Spats, Empty, Dawnie, Ruthie, Smoocho, Moocho, Puffer, Splosher Poxy, Merry, Smellie, Jan and Simple Dot ......etc (I may have missed a few) and they represent the names of some of his favourites.Anway, it's a great song, and what a contrast to 'It is obvious,' which is one of his most poetic. Best. NP.

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