What do you mean, what does it mean?

You didn't necessarily want to know, but here it is anyway. A commentary on Bauhaus Table.

What with the well-documented death of the author and all that - you can of course do what you want with the song as it hits you, but one starting point for the tune was that it was an oblique approach to the traumatic history of mid-twentieth century fascism.

An observer encounters a table owned by Arnold Schoenberg (who was exiled form Nazi Germany in the 30s). The table (the elegant reminder of Schoenberg's travails) is the physical witness to, and survivor of, a history so bleak that it would be crass to approach it head on in the chorus of a song. As a cipher to such experiences the object seems too kind on the eyes. It is a call to remember and a protest against the violence of memory.

Atoms Observe No Words

That's why the table is too kind on the eyes. It's not inherently too beautiful. It seems too beautiful to be a reminder of the holocaust. The idea of the tables' atoms 'observing' is a way of saying that this inanimate object has 'lived' through the very worst of the twentieth century and been a companion to a twentieth century musician who was caught up in that history as it played out. In a sense the table is an indexical link to the horror.