Twilight fades
Through blistered avalon
The sky's cruel torch
On aching autobahn

Into the uncertain divine
We scream into the last divine

You make me real
You make me real
Strong as I feel
You make me real

Sheila rides on crashing nightingale
Intake eyes leave passing vapor trails
With blushing brilliance alive
Because it's time to arrive

You make me real
You make me real
Strong as I feel
You make me real

Lately, I just can't seem to believe
Discard my friends to change the scenery
It meant the world to hold a bruising faith
Now it's just a matter of grace

A summer storm graces all of me
Highway warm sing silent poetry
And I could bring you the light
And take you home into the night

Lately, I just can't seem to believe (you make me real)
Discard my friends to change the scenery (you make me real)
It meant the world to hold a bruising faith (strong as I feel)
But now it's just a matter of grace (you make me real)

Lyrics submitted by Ice, edited by iceblink-luck

To Sheila Lyrics as written by William Patrick Corgan

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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To Sheila song meanings
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  • +4
    General Commentto me, this is a song of resignation. admitting how much someone means to him, but also accepting the fact they're apart and he's drifting along the road of life. the one person who makes him real, he'll have to do without...but for now, he dwells in the memory of when they were together. that memory and the promise of future togetherness being the one thing that brings him peace.

    Edited by delial on May 28 2008, at 06:43AM

    delialon August 15, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song is one of my top three pumpkins songs. Just wanted to point out a few things. Avalon was an island in old literature known for its beauty and being the place where the sword of King Arthur (excalibur) was made. A nightingale is a bird, obviously... but its known for singing at night.

    I see the first verse as a movement from light to darkness. This might signify the shift from life to death, but it definitely describes major change. "Twilight fades" It also uses a cynical or jaded view on the "light." "Blistered avalon" (a beautiful world where you have a sense of control lost) "Aching autobahn" (as the long, highway of life). The reason I think it may be talking about death is where it says "into the uncertain divine, we scream into the last divide." Lots of people talk about afterlife as great, possibly "divine", but when it comes down to it, no one wants to go "screaming into the last divide" (divide between life and death).

    The chorus makes perfect sense if the person dying is of major importance to the narrator.

    I think the second verse has to do with the actual dying process, as mentioned on one of the comments. "Crashing nightingale" she can only sing at night now = death. "Vapor trails" and "blushing brilliance" seem like literal body reactions to trauma. "Time to arrive" once again means dying. Anyone know who Sheila could be???

    The rest of the song I think deals with the narrator's coping with the death which has already occurred (agreeing with that original comment again). Grappling with questions of who he really is and God. "It meant the world to hold a bruising faith, but now its just a matter of grace." I think bruising faith has to do with his frustration with God in times of desperation. The grace he mentions after comes in forms outside of religion like change in scenery or lifestyle.

    I'm having trouble lining up the last verse up perfectly with my interpretation, but I think it has to do with him finally coming to terms with the death and being content. And he uses that word grace again : ) Change in scenery represented by a "summer storm," which could really have a positive or negative sentiment attachment attached to it depending on the reader. Summer storms can be fun and peaceful because you can still be outside and feel warm rain in comfort. Or it could be more metaphorical and signify a negative event at a time when you should be happy (summer). It throws me off when he references light and night in this verse, but I think its just because he's using them differently metaphorically than the first verse. I think it means he can make her happy by joining her and dying one day, which he inevitably will. Maybe the simple thought that they will see her again is what graces him.

    Ok it looks like a small comment turned into a huge one and i analyzed the song to death. Hope I got an A and didn't put anyone to sleep, lol. Hope this helps.
    mr_head86on December 26, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentTrue story: a couple months ago, I got dumped by a girl named Sheila. I was pretty despondent... all the music that I was listening to at that time just made me more heartbroken, so I dug around in my closet and found some Smashing Pumpkins CD's that an old friend (Eric) had made for me a couple years ago. Now, I never really liked the Pumpkins, but I had never listened to them that closely. They were always just on in the background while we played Halo in Eric's basement, and though I remembered and liked some songs (1979, Disarm, Tonight Tonight), I never really paid attention to the rest.

    Anyways, I thought that maybe some different music would help make me forget Sheila, so I dug out Ava Adore, not having the slightest idea what would be on it, and I just kind of chilled and put it on. The first song immediately struck me as the perfect song. I was just so peaceful, and it instantly reminded me of the light at dusk in January on the blacktop of my elementary school for some reason, and I thought it really beautiful. I kept playing it over and over again, and eventually I just had to go online and lookup the lyrics. When I saw that it was titled "To Sheila" I actually just started laughing hysterically. It was like one of those coincidences that happen in sitcoms or the comics, and it just made me think that my plight wasn't so bad, and that if it seemed like the gods were toying with me, that was cause for laughter.
    stupid_nameon January 27, 2006   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationYou believe in something and you want that something so bad it hurts... you've wanted it all along, it's like everybody has it but you, you need to feel that thing... and though you know you might never have it, deep inside you hold on to that uncertain faith that hurts you and go on living with your emptiness... and then one day, that one thing you've always wanted ( a lover, but it could be an state of happiness or a cure) actually comes to you and now it's just a matter of grace, of gratitude for having held on to that faith... it meant everything because it didn't matter how lost and empty you felt, you didn't give up on your life... you lived to see this day and now you have what you've always wanted and it makes you feel like a real ordinary person like you never felt before. It's almost unbelievable how beautiful everything in the world is now. You feel everything different, everything is deeper, you can finaly see beauty in things. You are not alone. You are real. You want the whole world to be able to feel like you do, especially the one who makes you feel that way... and now you feel like you could bring that person the light because that's what she's done to you. You have have let your guard down to be with someone who makes you feel secure enough to drown into the uncertain...
    and now you can just be, you can just feel.
    xcerisexon August 21, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI use to listen to this song and only really pay attention to the "You make me real" part. Definitely love that part, but then I started listening to the rest and began to notice all the automobile imagery..."arching autobahn""Sheila rides""intake eyes""vapor trails""highway".

    Made me start thinking that he's singing about a car that allows him to just get away from it all, even if for only a moment. Like riding in that car is what calms and centers him. It's that time that he spends alone, driving down the road at night that gives him the ability to reflect on his life. Could be the hum of the motor or the sound of the wind passing by but being in that car is like a therapy session.

    I always get this picture in my head when I listen to this song, of a cherry red car with black racing stripes, convertable, top down driving on a winding road at night with the headlights on and the only other light being the moon.

    I'm sure the song is deeper in meaning than that, but that's what I see when I listen to it. Great song, very relaxing.
    lestat86on February 12, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the first verse just sets the backround of the sun rise, and corgan thinking about, or actually, transitioning into a new unknown in his life.

    Which leads to the main theme of the song and the entire album, a girl he is totally smitten by. No matter how successful and confident you are, you can meet a person who totally takes you back.

    The third verse just explains a little why she drives him crazy, eyes that draw you in and leave vapor trails.

    The next verse maybe he starts to doubt the way he feels towards her as time goes by, the normal decline when reality sets in from when everything is new and great. She wrongs him, and he leaves everything behind for a change. Thoughout everything he holds on despite being negatively affected. When its all said and done, he just chalks it up to the good times were worth the bad, him being graced.

    I know someone who could make you feel like that:)
    fife1313on September 28, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSo good to fall asleep to..
    SP01on August 26, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat can you say about this song? I think it just makes you think deeply about your life w/o telling you specifically what you should be thinkin' about. Perhaps just step back, get away from EVERYTHING, all influences and see what faith has in store for you. Step out of the comfort zone of your life, and see where the breeze takes you. That's what I get out of it. Truly one of my favorite Pumpkin songs.
    y2doggyon May 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song reminds me of summer growing up in cape cod, mass...when things were so simple you know? wake up early spend the whole day at the beach and eat dinner outside on the porch and then play all night...i have realized that as life goes on we become less of who we really are-who we are supposed to be...until we find someone who makes us feel real again-who makes us feel like every day is a lazy summer day....cuz that is what is real
    4methisisheavenon March 11, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm back...I've got some more insight on the song. I'm guessing it could be about someone in the process of dying. She sees the "light" at the end of the tunnel and it's a "cruel" torch to Billy because he doesn't want to see her go. The "crashing nightingale" is a nurse rushing Sheila through the her systems begin to fail her she sees "vapor trails" of the sights around her, until it's time for her to "arrive" to death. The last verse about the summer storm is Billy coming to grips with the death and shows how he copes and still experiences Sheila. yup...I'm probably way off.
    y2doggyon May 08, 2003   Link

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