Eli, Eli, you can't tell left from right
Eli, Eli, your eyes are black and white
Why, why, why, why do you smile at me?
Oh, why do you smile at me?

I've been so cruel, mother of mine
I've been so cruel to you
So, why do you smile at me?
I've been away for as long as snow
I've been missing for years
So, why do you smile at me?

Why do you smile at me?
Why do you smile?

Been away for as long as snow
I've been missing for years
Looking for the son of mine
He's been looking for your fears
Why, why, why do you leave me far behind?
Why, why, why do you leave me here to die?

Why do you smile at me?
Why do you smile?

Lyrics submitted by travislopes

Eli song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentJust my personal imagery:

    I see a boy (Eli), probably mentally impaired, who is being tormented and abused by his mother (first person narrator). She repeats "why do you smile at me" out of sheer confusion to why, after all of her abuse and torment, he would continue to treat her with love, or at least disregard for her behavior (and this is why I said he is mentally impaired, he doesn't know any better). In the line "I've been so cruel, mother of mine" I imagine that the woman treats a lot of people around her with disrespect, including her mother, and by everybody responding with compassion, she is being driven mad. Killer song, haunting vocals, expressive melodies. Very rad!
    styrofoamlionson February 11, 2015   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI agree with what the other guy said, but here's my opinion:

    Eli could be a metaphor or the generalisation of the world around the narrator. So the narrator gets into hella trouble, mistreats the world around her, is pretty much a bad person. Eli means "my God", so there narrator could be referring to God. She's wondering why he is so forgiving even though she has sinned so much. Back to the boy, when the narrator says "you can't tell left from right...your eyes are black and white", she's confused. The meaning black and white is used when things are easily contrasted or you can easily tell the difference. So why can't he tell the difference from right and wrong when his eyes are black and white. She's saying he should see the difference. Also those two lines contradict themselves. Very very play on words.
    Same with mums, she has mistreated her so badly and hasn't talked to her in years;however, mums still smiles at her/loves her. "Missing for years" could mean that who she was as a person has been gone for years, and maybe has come back.

    With that said, the story is possibly this:
    The narrator has a mentally ill child, abandons that child with her own mother. Leaves both, then after years and years finally returns. Only to find that her herself has now been abandoned.

    A fucking great song, with a sick instrumental.
    Itsyahboykyleon September 08, 2015   Link

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