"A Perfect Sonnet" as written by and Oberst....
Lately I've been wishing I had one desire
Something that would make me never want another
Something that would make it so that nothing matters
All would be clear then

But I guess I'll have to settle for a for a few brief moments
And watch all dissolve into a single second
And try to write it down into a perfect sonnet
Or one foolish line

Because that's all that you'll get so you'll have to accept
You are here and then you're gone
But I believe that lovers should be tied together and
Thrown into the ocean in the worst of weather

And left there to drown
Left there to drown
In their innocence
But as for me I'm coming to the final chapter

I read all of the pages and there is still no answer
Only all that was before I know must soon come after
That is the only way it can be
So I stand in the sun

And I breathe with my lungs
Trying to spare myself the weight of the truth
Saying everything you have ever seen was just a mirror
And you've spent your whole life sweating in an endless fever

And now you are laying ina bathtum full of freezing water
Wishing you were a ghost
But once you knew a girl and you named her lover
And danced with her in kitchens through the greenest summer

But autumn came, she disappeared
You don't remember where she said she was going to
But you know that she is gone because she left you a song
That you don't want to sing

We're singing I believe that lovers should be chained together
And thrown into a fire with their songs and letters
And left there to burn in their arrogance
But as for me I'm coming to my final failure

I've killed myself with changes trying to make it better
But I still ended up becoming something other than what I had planned to be
Now I believe that lovers should be draped in flowers
And laid entwined together on a bed of clover

And left there to sleep
Left there to dream of their happiness


Lyrics submitted by PLANES, edited by ruttentud

"A Perfect Sonnet" as written by

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

A Perfect Sonnet song meanings
Add your thoughts

292 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +5
    My InterpretationI personally think this song is about someone who really wants to fall in love but has been unsucessful. So he wants something else that's more attainable that he can control that will make him forget about wanting to fall in love. I think he bitterness and jealousy to people in love is he talkes about tying them together and throwing them in the ocean and then talks about chaining them together and throwing them into the fire left to burn in there arrogance. I think he feels like a outsider looking in. Feels like he's running out time.
    chuck9259on October 28, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General Comment"I believe that lovers should be tied together
    And thrown into the ocean in the worst of weather
    And left there to drown
    Left there to drown in their innocence"


    In Revolutionary France, a popular method of execution was tying a husband and wife together naked and then casting them into a river to drown.


    very interesting that he draws on this.
    jazzhands666on February 17, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Commentto me, this song is about all of those who got away because i was too afraid to do anything, because i was too messed up in the head and depressed, because i had such a low self esteem. it reminds me of the time where i despised others who were in relationships and i couldn't understand why i couldn't join them. this song screams of all those years i was indulged in self-pity, depression, and pain.
    another lonely dayon July 01, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think he's tired of meaningless relationships and he's envious of lovers that last the tests of time.
    Cupid's arrows have had short lasting side-effects for him.
    Maybe he just longs for someone worth more than just one nice night,
    but instead a smattering of goodnights and good-byes leading to later hellos.


    Since relationships have thunder;
    they're stormy,
    they're made of both joy and sadness,
    people give up.
    But he doesn't want to. And yet he does.
    It's simple to just skimper in the sunlight, keep things light
    because people's storms make people weary to wander
    -weary to love.
    So if you find desire, cling to it.
    Stay with it through the "worst of weather."
    -after the storm comes the calm.
    and in the end

    True lovers should be draped in flowers.
    For they've made it through the tests of times.
    electricsweetson February 28, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti love this song so much. it makes me cry every time i listen to it... i love the "i believe that lovers should be..."
    emopunkskafaceon April 14, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti felt this way during one of my nervous breakdowns
    damienthorntoon April 14, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's interesting that most people interpret these lyrics in a primarily romantic light, because I've always seen it as outlining the typical, torturous existential crisis: the speaker is struggling to accept the shortness of life and the eventual meaninglessness of it all. He's grasping onto the significance with dear life; that's the tremble in this man's voice. But the dynamic doesn't end there; it's rather ambivalent. Actual music-wise, the fluctuation in tempo and intensity really hint at Conor's quixotic attitude and frustration at the time of writing. He goes from "[watching] it all dissolve into a single second" and feeling quite dire to preaching to others that "[people are] here and then [they are] gone," as if he came to the conclusion without struggle. The cynicism is at its peak in the refraining periods; that's where all the bitter "I believe that..." lines are.

    My favorite has always been:

    "But as for me, I'm coming to the final chapter
    I read all of the pages and there's still no answer
    Only all that was before I know must soon come after
    That's the only way it can be."

    The "final chapter" is in the book of wisdom and ultimate truth. The writer is complaining that he's been through all he can go through, "and there's still no answer," meaning an answer does not exist. The next lines, I think, allude to the life cycle of humans. The average person in the United States, by their time of death, may very well learn to walk twice, learn how to speak again or simply how to manage wearing diapers. So, no matter how many great things may occur in life, it all just amounts to, first, a "a single second" once we are soon to die, and now "a mirror" - everything that happens is only a reflection of one's self. We reap what we sow, and the speaker is frustrated because instead of spending time actually improving his life he sits around whining about the nature of the world: "...I still ended up becoming something other than what I planned to be."

    Ultimately, some of the best, painfully infectious Bright Eyes lyrics ever. Some equivalents would be Lua, You! Will. and Bowl of Oranges.
    indiepistolon April 22, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Lyric CorrectionThis is how I'd write the lyrics; I daresay it can be arranged better than in the original post.

    ~~~
    Lately I've been wishing I had one desire
    Something that would make me never want another
    Something that would make it so that nothing mattered
    All would be clear then

    But I guess I'll have to settle for a few brief moments
    And watch it all dissolve into a single second
    Try to write it down into a perfect sonnet
    Or one foolish line

    'Cause that's all that you'll get
    So you'll have to accept
    You are here, then you're gone

    But I believe that lovers should be tied together
    Thrown into the ocean in the worst of weather
    Left there to drown, left there to drown in their innocence

    But as for me, I'm coming to the final chapter
    I read all of the pages and there's still no answer
    The only words before I know must soon come after
    That's the only way it can be

    So I stand in the sun, and I breathe with my lungs
    I'm trying to spare me the weight of the truth

    Saying everything you've ever seen was just a mirror
    Spend your whole life sweating in an endless fever
    And laying in a bathtub full of freezing water
    Wishing you were a ghost

    But once you knew a girl and you named her lover
    Danced with her in kitchens through the greenest summer
    Autumn came, she disappeared, you can't remember
    Where she said she was going to

    But you know that she's gone
    'Cause she left you a song
    That you don't want to sing

    Singing I believe that lovers should be chained together
    Thrown into a fire with their songs and letters
    Left there to burn, left there to burn in their arrogance

    But as for me, I'm coming to my final failure
    Killed myself with changes trying to make things better
    Ended up becoming something other than what I had planned to be
    Alright!

    I believe that lovers should be draped in flowers
    And laid entwined together on a bed of clover
    Left there to sleep
    Left there to dream of their happiness
    ~~~
    Atlantiuson April 18, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti feel this way exactlly a good portion of my life. Then conor just keeps bringing himself back.
    bright eyes burn meon January 26, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti wonder who he wrote this about, or what inspired him to create this song? the pain in his voice... it makes me want to cry but the ending prevents me. its beautiful, for lack of a better word.
    I Saw Star Warson April 25, 2002   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain