"A Letter to Elise" as written by Robert James Smith, Simon Gallup, Porl Thompson, Boris Williams and Perry Bamonte....
Oh Elise it doesn't matter what you say
I just can't stay here every yesterday
Like keep on acting out the same
The way we act out
Every way to smile
Forget

And make-believe we never needed
Any more than this
Any more than this

Oh Elise it doesn't matter what you do
I know I'll never really get inside of you
To make your eyes catch fire
The way they should
The way the blue could pull me in
If they only would
If they only would
At least I'd lose this sense of sensing something else
That hides away
From me and you
There're worlds to part
With aching looks and breaking hearts
And all the prayers your hands can make
Oh I just take as much as you can throw
And then throw it all away
Oh I throw it all away
Like throwing faces at the sky
Like throwing arms round
Yesterday

I stood and stared
Wide-eyed in front of you
And the face I saw looked back
The way I wanted to
But I just can't hold my tears away
The way you do

Elise believe I never wanted this
I thought this time I'd keep all of my promises
I thought you were the girl I always dreamed about
But I let the dream go
And the promises broke
And the make-believe ran out

So Elise
It doesn't matter what you say
I just can't stay here every yesterday
Like keep on acting out the same
The way we act out
Every way to smile
Forget
And make-believe we never needed
Any more than this
Any more than this

And every time I try to pick it up
Like falling sand
As fast as I pick it up
It runs away through my clutching hands
But there's nothing else I can really do
There's nothing else I can really do
There's nothing else
I can really do
At all


Lyrics submitted by oofus, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"A Letter to Elise" as written by Robert James Smith, Simon Gallup, Porl Thompson, Boris Williams, Perry Bamonte

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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A Letter to Elise song meanings
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74 Comments

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  • +7
    General CommentAs I see it, the song is indeed about resignation by the letter-writer, but not just at the fact that his love for Elise is gone. He also - a most importantly - seems to have realized that, back when his love was whole, he loved Elise more than she loved him and that, no matter how hard he tried or how well she pretended, he had never been able to change that. He makes it as clear as poetic language will allow that it was due to this imbalance in the relationship that he let his heart move away (Oh Elise it doesn't matter what you do / I know I'll never really get inside of you / To make your eyes catch fire / The way they should The way the blue could pull me in / If they only would / If they only would / At least I'd lose this sense of sensing something else / That hides away / From me and you).

    He´s painfully reminded of that imbalance at breakup, when she was obviously more capable than he was of keeping her cool and holding herself together (Yesterday / I stood and stared / Wide-eyed in front of you / And the face I saw looked back / The way I wanted to / But I just can't hold my tears away / The way you do). She managed because her pain was simply not as huge.

    In short, what this song tells you, in my view, is that love´s gotta be returned in the exact same amount it is given, otherwise it goes sour.
    lostinrioon April 12, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General Commentresignation. the ending of something he tried so hard at. but he could never really understand her. never really knew what was going on in her mind. hes come to the realization that he can't keep living in the past. he sees that yesterday was wonderful, but today is another day. she wasnt what he thought she was. there's nothing left he can do, but let go.
    sparkle21on March 12, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Commentwhat i love about this song is how the tune is so bubbly and happy but the words are sad, its a really interesting contrast, maybe its something about how he seems and how he really is. Like maybe on the surface he pretends hes happy and the words bring out whats really in his heart, anyone agree? Disagree? I love this song, hope they play it when i see them soon.
    fleaaaaaaon June 08, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Commentthis is the true beauty of cure songs, and robert's writing.. most of his inspiration comes from literature.. he takes it in, reforms it and spills it out in a form that makes the listener feel like the song was written for nobody else but them, that's why people always write their own personal stories and situations to cure songs.. he makes great works personal not only for himself but for the listener as well

    this as stated is indeed written from a Kafka inspiration, 'Letters To Felice', whom despite what was written here was not his mistress but actually his later to be fiance. He had met her, and they wrote letters to each other long distance. I think a hint of this song comes from the fact that many people believe that Kafka having distance and only letters created an image of Felice, that in reality Felice could not live up to, and he also exaggerated his feelings for her to prove to his father that he too could love and start a family, he later fell in love with what was thought to be her close friend.

    but putting it in a more personal aspect, as is so easy with robert's writing, no matter what the source. this song gives you a sense of wanting to try and trying but not being able to achieve the real goal of love and happiness with each other. he's writing to 'elise' to tell her that despite their best efforts, they both need something more.. they'll never really get inside of each other, and they're both fooling themselves. He wanted to believe but the reality of the whole situation was clear.
    xpsychicheartsxon June 02, 2005   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningI'm fairly certain the song is in some way associated with the legend about the forbidden love between Eloisa and Abelard, and the letters they exchanged after they parted. Even though they were married and had a child together, Eloisa's parents had Abelard castrated in retaliation of the young lovers' defiance of their wishes. In their exchanges, they could never fully reconcile or make sense of their intensely opposing views as a man and a woman. (That the conflict could no longer be resolved or atleast sublimated by a physical union could probably be a source of the frustration that is dealt with in this song). Think about it. There could be a very literal interpretation to the lines: 'Oh Elise it doesn't matter what you do/I know I'll never really get inside of you/To make your eyes catch fire/The way they should/The way the blue could pull me in/If they only would/If they only would/At least I'd lose this sense of sensing something else/That hides away/From me and you'. The rest of the lyrics are also relevant to the story-'With aching looks and breaking hearts/And all the prayers your hands can make' could be a direct reference to the fact that Abelard joined a monastery shortly after he was castrated, and urged Elise to become a nun.
    Alexander Pope's poem 'Eloisa to Abelard' also deals with this same love story.
    S23on July 27, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song was inspired by Kafka and his relationship with his mistress. He wrote her many letters over the course of their affair.Some she opened and some she didnt. It was a strange relationship.
    beehauson December 16, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentTrue story. 1996 Im in college in the Mac lab and the "information superhighway" was new. So im in this chat room (Wow, people from all over the country talking in here at the same time?? amazing) and I see a name in the guest list, Elise. So I type to her "oh Elise it doesnt matter what you say" .... and she replies "I just can't stay here every yesterday" Holy shit!! she knows The Cure. We chatted every night. Sent emails (new at the time), eventually led to snail mail and photographs of each other, eventually led to phone calls (i was in Lancaster,PA she was in college in LA) ..remember, this was ALL before online dating. So we decided to meet up during winter break after communicating for 3 months (Actually, I graduated that Dec.96) I flew out there and spent a week with her at her home in Mesa, AZ and she came back with me to philly for a week. We fell deep for each other, but realised our real lives were 3000 miles apart, so it never went further. Thinking back, I dont believe in fate but it's amazing how it all happend because of this song. She was beautiful and I miss her.
    spokexxon January 22, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Commentalso.. at night is influence by kafka.. but..

    if you're into true beauty in words 'letters to felice' would be a great read.. but it would be nothing compared to Kafka's true brilliant writting to Milena found in 'Letters to Milena'. Milena would be that women he was looking for in Felice, a women who actually understands and gets the true meaning of him.. unfortunanly she is unhappily married to a hurtful man, and he writes how desperate he wants and needs her. They live an affair through letters, but knowingly, at least for Milena, that she will never leave her husband. As most know, Kakfa died young, as did Milena in a concentration camp.. if you like words that leave you heartbroken, this is truly a read to look forward to..

    ..and i will stop my O.G Readmore summaries
    xpsychicheartsxon June 02, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song makes me cry everytime I hear it. My fiance can sing it very well though, he's so talented. I wonder why, on The Greatest Hits thing that was all acoustic, did Smith mess up all the words?
    psimouseon June 09, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOne of my favourites by The Cure...
    zeppelinfreakon January 10, 2005   Link

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