You only hurt the one you love
That may be true
But better said, you only hurt the one who loves you

We went through hell
Just to get to hell
Die of thirst of drink up form the poisoned well

I kept the things inside
At least I never lied
I'm not trying to document my suicide

You won't live long
But you may write the perfect song
Please excuse those who choose to not play along


Lyrics submitted by sweet_heart_fever

The Poisoned Well Lyrics as written by Samuel J. Coomes

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Poisoned Well song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +1
    General Comment

    Sam doesn't exist for Elliott. Not every Quasi song about depression, suicide, etc. are about Elliott. Listen to the song for what it's worth people. "We went through hell Just to get to hell Die of thirst of drink up form the poisoned well"

    Die of thirst or drink up from the poisoned f**king well. It's what the world is all about. Take a look around.

    pcianciarusoon November 25, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Never really thought of it that way but it makes sense, anyway.

    HughLloydon June 02, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    hmm....well elliot didnt think so did he? it makes sense but...i dunno.

    jacky4290on July 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Woah, that's very interesting! I never thought of it that way.

    TenderLumplingon April 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Elliott smith has a song called 'from a poisoned well' that would seem to be more of a reply.

    CHEERINGONBOMBSon January 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I'm not sure if this was toward Elliot Smith, considering they did play this song together.

    peechloveon March 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    It's interesting to compare it to Elliott Smith, and a few lines make sense that way ("you only hurt the one who loves you", "You won't live long But you may write the perfect song") but I think its just about the music industry. Die of thirst i.e go broke while playing the music you want or drink up from the poison well, i.e make the money with the corporation but kind of sell you soul. The last line, which seems the most like an Elliott reference, I think just means, you might write a famous song to please everyone, but don't hold it against him for not wanting to take part in the people pleasing business.

    micksteron March 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song was absolutely about Elliott Smith. Ironically, Quasi owed whatever career they had to Elliott. All of it. He let them follow him around the world on tour, hired them to back him on tour, let them open up for him. Everyone in Portland knew it was about Elliott but after his suicide, suddenly the message changed and oh, it was about the music industry because it’s all fun and games writing songs about someone, mocking them for being depressed and working that into his writing and music until the guy who helped build your career takes his own life. Then it’s not so funny anymore I suppose. Sam was asked specifically if this song was about Elliott and he didn’t deny that it was, he only said that it could apply to other musicians as well. But it was written shortly after they claimed Elliott tried to jump off a cliff and later had an intervention with him (that didn’t go well). So yeah, it’s about Elliott. Yes he played it with them live several times because what better way to say “f*ck you” than to play it with them while you can look the writer in the eyes while doing it KNOWING that if you didn’t let them open up for you, nobody would ever hear them play it at all. I’d say that’s a masterful way to respond to a song written about you that’s trying to mock you.

    Theflyeron January 22, 2023   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i think people often forget that sam n janet went through a rough divorce a coupla years prior… i won’t fully deny the “this song’s about elliott!” allegations but lotsa this song could very well apply to the divorce & how sam felt in general. (just going off of other songs about it) but all in all who knows? he’s mentioned it could apply to any troubled musician. whatever sam had in mind when writing this song will only be known to him… & maybe janet. pff. his lyrics had a strong tendency to have these dark & moody themes back then! that allegation, he hasn’t denied. ha. very loosely quoting this but he said something about one day just bein’ like, man, how much longer can i write songs like that? this was in the early 2000s… i’d say 2001? 2002? love quasi & elliott (they’re the reason i started listening to elliott in the first place!) but lotsa people seem ta think a ton of sam’s songs are written specifically about elliott… like he had some slight vendetta against him. i think that’s just silly. :)

    redbowlingballon May 27, 2023   Link
  • -1
    General Comment

    A stab at elliott smith? With elliotts reply to this song being 'everybody cares, everybody understands? Im not too sure but thats how i have always sorta perceived it as.

    howz_gon June 02, 2005   Link

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