How can I tell you
That I love you
I love you
But I can't think of right words to say

I long to tell you
That I'm always thinking of you
I'm always thinking of you
But my words just blow away
Just blow away

It always ends up to one thing, honey
And I can't think of right words to say

Wherever I am girl
I'm always walking with you
I'm always walking with you
But I look and you're not there

Whoever I'm with
I'm always, always talking to you
I'm always talking to you
And I'm sad that you can't hear
Sad that you can't hear

It always ends up to one thing, honey
When I look and you're not there

I need to know you
Need to feel my arms around you
Feel my arms around you
Like a sea around a shore

Each night and day I pray
In hope that I might find you
In hope that I might find you
Because heart's can do no more
Can do no more

It always ends up to one thing, honey
Still I kneel upon the floor

How can I tell you
That I love you
I love you
But I can't think of right words to say

I long to tell you
That I'm always thinking of you
I'm always thinking of you

It always ends up to one thing, honey
And I can't think of right words to say


Lyrics submitted by H-bomb, edited by Hipnoticed

How Can I Tell You Lyrics as written by Yusuf Islam

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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How Can I Tell You song meanings
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29 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentI always thought his lyrics were "I need to know you, need to feel my arms around you
    Feel my arms surround you, like a sea around a shore". Surround not around in the second line. A small point but worth pointing out.
    Gregavion April 16, 2011   Link
  • +3
    MemoryThis song was played at my dad's funeral in 1992. He passed away very young at 34 and I could still hear the song played by my mother for many years until she passed away last year. I got to see Yusuf play with my poor old (young) mother and to hear this song live just cut her to bits. Such a unique song.
    nickandkimon February 06, 2015   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe beauty about music is that what a song means to one person, is personal and unique to them. I see people trying to be all logical about songs on here and it's funny. "No, this song shouldn't make you feel that". This particular song makes me happy and sad. It makes me think about how lucky the person is for whom this song was written.
    Drawing from personal experience, it makes me think of a relationship once desired, once enjoyed, once destructive, once lost, once longed for and now, just gone. There is not much left other than vague memories, at one time tainted with anger and disappointment, and now tainted only with indifference.
    The beauty about this song is that it reminds me of what love is, how it feels, and it captures the pleasure and the pain of the experience. Also, the beauty of love is having someone, something to believe in. This song makes me want to be in love again!
    csismysoulmateon June 28, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is one of my many favorites of his, because it just sounds so good.
    He didn't make too many love songs, and the ones he did are gems, so I don't see the problem with that.
    katherine22on April 23, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song, but I have to disagree with the person who wrote before me and said he liked the version with the de Beers commercial better. I was actually really sad when I saw that commercial and noticed they used this song. It's just promotion of materialism as a way of expressing love, which I just think is a little sick. I like Cat Stevens' version better because it feels a lot more genuine and heartfelt. He had no ulterior motives when he wrote or sang this song.
    songofthedeafgirlon October 27, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhen I first heard this song, I cried. Cat knows how it is.
    tifnzon September 09, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA great love song. I have often felt the feelings that this song so easily expresses. It always makes me feel so lonely and regretful when I hear it; and yet I love it so much and think that it is so beautiful.
    I wonder who inspired it?
    Guybrushon July 07, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentylva-li,
    I understand what you mean. But maybe you concentrated too much on the lyrics than the music AND lyrics. It's them together that makes this song great. The whole song. One song.
    Just a thought, cheerio!
    oujion September 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI was also turned on to this song by the diamond commercial. After seeing the commercial and doing some research, I was glad to find that Cat Stevens had done the song. I agree that I'd like to be able to get a full version of the song from Chan Marshall (a.k.a Cat Power), but the Cat Stevens version is great too.

    The full version is different from the impression that the diamond commercial leaves, in which a guy just wants to do something special to express his feelings to his significant other. In the song, he loves someone but hasn't been able to convey that. I think the second verse is most powerful, in which he's always thinking of her no matter what he's doing or who he's with.
    procktheboaton April 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm not so sure this is actually a love song, guys. In Cat Power's cover it sounds more like a love song, because in the diamond commercial she's only singing the first verse, the mood is much lighter and the visuals of the young couple in bed make you think of love.
    Cat Stevens and Liz Durrett sing the song in a much more somber tone, which sounds melancholy and remorseful to me.

    One could claim that Cat the tone was because he's singing about a woman who did not reciprocate his feelings.
    The lines: "I need to know you, need to feel my arms around you/Feel my arms around you, like a sea around a shore" give me that impression as well.
    But I really think that he's singing in remorse because he has cheated on the person he loves.
    The song could be interpreted in a different light when you think that he's trying to find the right words to tell her how he has cheated on her.
    "Wherever I am girl, I'm always walking with you / I'm always walking with you, but I look and you're not there / Whoever I'm with, I'm always, always talking to you / I'm always talking to you, and I'm sad that / You can't hear, sad that you can't hear / It always ends up to one thing, honey / When I look and you're not there"
    Trying to assure her that he cheated on her out of loneliness. That even as he was with someone else, he always thought of her and it made him feel very guilty.

    If we were to go with the assumption that he is longing for a woman who doe not feel the same, the verse still works though. He is settling for someone else because he can not have her and he always thinks of her while he is with the other woman.

    So maybe this is why Cat Stevens is considered one of the greatest songwriters, because he writes songs that people can relate to. From three different views of this song, it is still enjoyed by people. Fantastic song.
    singloudproudandclearon January 01, 2009   Link

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