"Poison & Wine" as written by John Paul White, Joy Williams and Chris Lindsey....
You only know what I want you to
I know everything you don't want me to
Oh your mouth is poison, your mouth is wine
You think your dreams are the same as mine
Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will
I always will

I wish you'd hold me when I turn my back
The less I give the more I get back
Oh your hands can heal, your hands can bruise
I don't have a choice but I'd still choose you

Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will

I always will
I always will
I always will
I always will
I always will

Lyrics submitted by yourebeatingmyheart

"Poison & Wine" as written by Joy Williams John White


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Poison & Wine song meanings
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  • +9
    General CommentI think this song is all about committment. Both of these artists are married, and I think their writing of this song springs from they. Marriage isn't always that "feeling" of love - much of the time it is choosing to love. I think this song is about that. At this very moment, I don't love you, but I always will. I don't have a choice, but I choose you. I think people in relationships can sometimes get to the place where they tink, "Oh, (s)he doesn't even know me anymore," but the partner DOES know them. When two people know and love each other this much, there is nothing secret. Sometimes what they want goes unspoken, because they want the other to know what they are thinking, and sometimes the person knows that want that, but they don't want to take that first step. I think this is one of the most romantic songs I've ever heard because it is about that committment. It is about sticking it out even when you don't feel love. Its about remembering that you choose this person. Its about realizing that you will move past this rough point and you will always choose to love.
    singsaloton May 07, 2010   Link
  • +7
    General CommentThe first time I heard this song it spoke to my heart. Everyone has their own interpretation, but this is mine based on personal experience:

    (a little long, but bear with me)

    1. "You only know what I want you to
    2. I know everything you don't want me to"

    1. He's saying that she only knows what he tells her and/or from what she sees.
    2. When in reality, she isn't that naive and she finds out everything she doesn't want to know that hurts her; and everything he thinks he's hiding.

    3. "Oh your mouth is poison, your mouth is wine
    4. You think your dreams are the same as mine"

    3. Their lips are poison but at the same time it nourishes both of them. It's like having an addiction to something that is harmful to your health: it's bad for you, but you just can't stop.
    4. As for the dreams being the same, she is saying that he thinks she doesn't have her own dreams. He thinks she is lost in him because she loves him so much that he IS her dream come true. But really, she has dreams of her own but sacrifices those for him because when you love someone you'd give up the world to be with them. She's not as weak as he thinks she is.

    5. "I wish you'd hold me when I turn my back
    6. The less I give the more I get back"

    5. She wishes that when she acts like she doesn't care or that she's going to end the relationship and leave that he would chase after her. She wants him to prove that she's not holding on to nothing and that he will fight for her and their love.
    6. He knows she is doing this and he doesn't react to it because he thinks she will always be there for him. He knows that she will always hold on to their love no matter what happens. The less he gives her and pulls away, the harder she fights to keep it together. Which in the end means he is always the one being pleased and always getting what he wants because of it. She wants to make him happy so he'll stay.

    7. "Oh your hands can heal, your hands can bruise
    8. I don't have a choice but I'd still choose you"

    7. She's saying that when he hurts her he always comes back and fixes it; He heals the emotional wounds he caused. But just as much as he can heal her and save her from the pain, he also is the one that causes it. Therefore, he heals and bruises.
    8. You cannot control your heart and who it decides to love. He's saying that even if he had the choice to pick anyone in the world to love, he would still choose her regardless of everything they go through.

    9. "Oh, I don't love you, but I always will"
    9. I saved this for last because I believe this lyric is the full meaning of the song. As much as they do not want to love each other, they can't help but do the complete opposite. They are forever ambivalent in their love with one another. They are unable to live without one another, but staying together is too painful; As much as they hate each other, they love each other that much more. It's an addicting type of love that they are unable to control. He manipulates her because he can and she deals with it because as hard as it is to be with him, it'd be even harder to be without.

    "Unless it's mad, passionate, extraordinary love, it's a waste of your time. There are too many mediocre things in life. Love shouldn't be one of them."
    - Unknown
    onlyashesanneon January 13, 2012   Link
  • +5
    General CommentThis song haunts you like an unrequieted love affair.
    "Oh I don't love you, and I always will."

    No matter how much you try to talk yourself into being smart about love, you cannot.
    deneicyon January 02, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI'm not sure why I think this but my thoughts on what the song means is different than a lot of what I've read, so please bare with me... I've noticed that it's always the opposite for them, even in the video. They're in different rooms feeling the opposite of each other and opposite of what they say. "I don't love you, but I always will." and "Your mouth is poison, your mouth is wine" "Your hands can heal, your hands can bruise" "I don't have a choice but I still choose you" To me it's about a point in a relationship right before things get bad. They want to hold on to what they have and they think of the good things, but also they feel doubt about the relationship so thats where the negative comes in. It's like they don't want to admit the need of a breakup. They're stuck... so to speak. Does that make any sense??? lol =) - Jess
    vanillabeanjesson August 23, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentHonestly, I almost hate listening to this song. I can't help but to think this song is about Joy & John-Paul. John-Paul has said in an interview that this song is basically about the urge to say how you really feel to your partner without having a ripple effect, like you're just screaming it in their face but they cannot hear you. The way Joy & John-Paul sing to each other is too beautiful, they have such great chemistry, and if anyone has ever watched "The Making of Poison & Wine," they do seem as if they're in love. I feel as if this song is about them, they wish they could tell each other how they really feel but since they're both in committed relationships, they cannot.
    "You only know, what I want you to... I know everything, you don't want me to." He tries to hide the fact that he doesn't love her, obviously because he has a family, but she knows.
    "I wish you'd hold me when I turn my back" I think she wishes that whenever she's upset, or when she literally turns her back, he would hold her, but he can't because he would violate the unwritten rules between them. (Getting too close, advancing their relationship.. etc.)
    "Oh your mouth is poison, your mouth is wine." I think this line would mean that they say hurtful things to each other, but at the same time, they say relaxing and comforting things to each other.
    "I don't love you, but I'd always will," would mean, I can't love you, but if I could, I will always love you.
    "I don't have a choice but I'd still choose you" would mean, I can't do anything about us, but if I did, I would be with you.

    The reason why I almost hate listening to this song because I would never know if this is between them. I know, it sounds stupid, but I feel as if this is a lie. Their chemistry is so pure, you can't help but to think the way they stare at each other on stage is love. I respect them a lot for being so committed to their families.. But I feel like I'm watching a very sad movie. You know, "the love that can never be."
    3callson December 26, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe message I get from this song is that the feeling they're presenting is "I don't love you" but contradict that by saying, "I always will." So within their own minds they love each other but can't/won't tell the other person. The video of this makes it look more like they are falling apart- which could be the case but I would argue that they also look at the other like they wanted to say more. Beautiful song <3
    Spring2K5on February 20, 2011   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThis song is so poignant and I've struggled with the meaning for a long time but I perceive it to be about a couple that have been together for a really long time and are now growing apart. They both love each other very much but are harbouring their unhappiness which is destroying their relationship further. They know that their relationship is coming to an end but don't want to admit it because being with each other is the only way they know how. I think they resent each other for changing and not being the same person they fell in love with. The line "I don't love you but I always will" shows that they have fallen out of love with the person their partner has become but ultimately will always love them. I'm not sure how much sense that made but that's my interpretation!
    RetroEraon December 21, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI heard this song and loved it. Then I read these comments and I loved it even more. I think this song will always break my heart.
    ajalee1on January 02, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti believe this song is about a love hate relationship really, i believe the lyrics are explaining there are rough patches in love but they get through it because they love each other. on the other hand i also believe that this song is about loving someone you dont want to anymore because they hurt your feelings but yet you cant help it because your in love with them.
    bethwaa1on February 28, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is amazing, but it kills if you are recovering from a broken heart.
    mbeatz6on December 09, 2009   Link

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