They call me The Wild Rose
But my name was Elisa Day
Why they call me it I do not know
For my name was Elisa Day

[Nick Cave]
From the first day I saw her I knew she was the one
She stared in my eyes and smiled
For her lips were the colour of the roses
That grew down the river, all bloody and wild

[Kylie Minogue]
When he knocked on my door and entered the room
My trembling subsided in his sure embrace
He would be my first man, and with a careful hand
He wiped at the tears that ran down my face

They call me The Wild Rose
But my name was Elisa Day
Why they call me it I do not know
For my name was Elisa Day

[Nick Cave]
On the second day I brought her a flower
She was more beautiful than any woman I'd seen
I said, "Do you know where the wild roses grow
So sweet and scarlet and free?"

[Kylie Minogue]
On the second day he came with a single red rose
Said: "Will you give me your loss and your sorrow"
I nodded my head, as I lay on the bed
He said, "If I show you the roses, will you follow?"

They call me The Wild Rose
But my name was Elisa Day
Why they call me it I do not know
For my name was Elisa Day

[Kylie Minogue]
On the third day he took me to the river
He showed me the roses and we kissed
And the last thing I heard was a muttered word
As he knelt above me with a rock in his fist

[Nick Cave]
On the last day I took her where the wild roses grow
And she lay on the bank, the wind light as a thief
And I kissed her goodbye, said, "All beauty must die"
And lent down and planted a rose between her teeth

They call me The Wild Rose
But my name was Elisa Day
Why they call me it I do not know
For my name was Elisa Day



Lyrics submitted by typo, edited by Mellow_Harsher


Where the Wild Roses Grow song meanings
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53 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment:great song. just MAGNIFICENT. especially the third verses, when she starts off saying "on the third day", and he starts it with "on the last day". they both have thier sides of the story which makes this song perfect.
    justanotherkyddon July 18, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:He lusted after her from the first moment. She was pure, free and full of vitality. Her virginial state was as much of an allure as her beauty. But from the moment they lay together, that part of her was gone.
    On the second day, he's already realised that the previous day, when they were together, is never going to be surpassed. Anything alse will seem cheap next to that. She'll get older, her innocence is fading, they will argue etc. So he invites her down to the river.
    Then, to preserve her integrity and his memories, he slays her on the third day.
    That's why all beauty must die - if you've achieved perfection, what is left to live for?
    Ramsbottomon October 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Vocal performances are great, and the last few stanzas are lovely and disconcerting. Which is the great thing about Nick Cave - he begins the song having the listener think it's a mushy ballad with lyrics straight from a romance novel ("From the first day I saw her I knew she was the one," "My trembling subsided in his sure embrace") and it ends with him killing her. Genius!

    If I had to be critical, I would say that the chorus could have been changed. I understand he's going for a "Gaelic tale" effect here, but it sounds so awkward and redundant.

    I love that "wind light as a thief" line. That is such an unexpected simile, I think.
    zeiton March 04, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I get a ominous feel about this song. The music and the way it's performed is just so beautiful but the lyrics are absolutely terrifying. Is there anyone who knows if there's a tale, myth or true story behind the lyrics. Also I think the "the wind light as a thief " is a reference to him beeing about to steel her life. I really like that the ending is kind of given away already in the second line: "... was Elisa Day"
    indoles77on October 14, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:oh this is a sad song, makes me feel sad.
    lathyruson June 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I think the chorus on this song is really interesting, it seems like she's too naive to realise that newspapers give murder victims sensationalist headline names (ie. "the wild rose") and genuinely can't understand why they don't use her real name.
    xpixiexon September 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:i'm not sure about necrophelia, it never actually mentions what happens after the murder. to me this song's about a man (a deeply disturbed one at that), who feels a desire to destroy something beautiful. he find's the most beautiful girl he can ("more beautiful than any woman I'd seen"), woo's her and akes her amid the wild roses to which he keeps comparing her where he kills her.

    alternately this song could be about a man who murders his girlfriend in order to preserve her beauty. however the line "From the first day I saw her I knew she was the one" along with "On the last day I took her where the wild roses grow" makes it sound as though he'd planned the whole thing from before he ever met her.

    whatever it's about it's a brilliant song, it's so macabre and yet, so beautiful i love everything about this song
    Bathoryon March 11, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Thats a really interesting insight, xpixiex, I hadn't considered the possibility of 'The Wild Rose' being used by newspapers etc as a name for the murder victim. Anyway, I think the firstverse sheds light on the notion of the murderer killing in order to preserve beauty:

    From the first day I saw her I knew she was the one

    [As early as the first ambigous line of the verse, Nick Cave introduces the motive of killing in order to preserve the image of beauty for eternity. In particular, he subverts the notion of 'the one' i.e. the one person with whom you spend the rest of your life with, by tying it in with the killers' predeliction for murdering beautiful women and selection of a victim.]

    She stared in my eyes and smiled
    For her lips were the colour of the roses
    That grew down the river, all bloody and wild

    [The comparison of her lips to bloody roses growing by the river bank is a premonition of what is to follow with the victim's murder.]

    Also, in the third verse, the rose metaphor is tied into the notion of a flower representing female chastity:

    On the second day he came with a single red rose
    Said: "Will you give me your loss and your sorrow"
    I nodded my head, as I lay on the bed
    He said, "If I show you the roses, will you follow?"
    Dressed2Depresson November 29, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I love how it starts off with the chorus, and how it uses the past tense "But my name was Eliza Day". It made me think the first time around, why "was"? It became clear soon enough... =\ I love thing song. I think it's absolutely hauntingly beautiful. It really paints a bewitchingly vivid scene.

    I also like how it seems like a run-of-the-mill love ballad, but every now and then, something makes you feel as if something's not quite right. Until the end comes and you find out why.

    Hauntingly beautiful.
    GaHeRiSon September 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:it's really eerie and i absolutely LOVE IT!!!
    festijunkon September 29, 2002   Link

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