the river's all rain and roses in a misty pinpoint darkness

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Senior Member
Britain English
Hello! Could someone tell me what this means?

We wheeled through the sultry old light of Algiers, back on the ferry, back toward the mud-splashed, crabbed old ships across the river, back on Canal, and out; on a two-lane highway to Baton Rouge in purple darkness; swung west there, crossed the Mississippi at a place called Port Alien. Port Alien-where the river's all rain and roses in a misty pinpoint darkness and where we swung around a circular drive in yellow foglight and suddenly saw the great black body below a , bridge and crossed eternity again. What is the Mississippi River?-a washed clod in the rainy night, a soft plopping ( from drooping Missouri banks, a dissolving, a riding of the tide down the eternal waterbed, a contribution to brown foams, a voyaging past endless vales and trees and levees, * down along, down along, by Memphis, Greenville, Eudora, Vicksburg, Natchez, Port Alien, and Port Orleans and Port of the Deltas, by Potash, Venice, and the Night's Great Gulf, and out. (Kerouac)
  • Lis48

    Senior Member
    English - British
    To me, the expression "rain and roses" suggests fortune ( hence "coming up roses") coming out of gloom (rain). Maybe because Port Alien is economically lucky to have a bridge to cross the Mississippi. "Misty pinpoint darkness" suggests a car´s headlamps piercing the mist in the dark and lighting up the river.


    Senior Member
    First of all, isn't it "Port Allen", not "Port Alien"? :)

    It's a very poetic phrase to me. I would guess that the writer's impression was of a very rainy river with rose bushes growing everywhere, or the scent of roses everywhere. I'm not sure what a "pinpoint darkness" is, unless they're driving in the dark and the whole landscape looks like a black sheet with a pinprick in it so that only one point of light shows (possibly their headlights?)

    Shreveport, Louisiana lays claim to the largest rose garden in the U.S., the American Rose Garden, but that's a few hundred miles away.
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