Rose darling come to me
Snake Mary's gone to bed
All our steaming sounds of love
Cannot disturb her in her night

Or raise her sleeping head
All I ask of you
Is make my wildest dreams come true
No one sees and no one knows

Rose darling come to me
Snake Mary dreams along
I would guess she's in Detroit
With lots of money in the bank

Although I could be wrong
You must know it's right
The spoor is on the wind tonight
You won't feel it till it grows

Rose darling my friend
With only you and what I've found
We'll wear the weary hours down

Rose darling come to me
The clock is close at hand
All my empty words of love
Can never screen the flash I feel

Or make you understand
Honey can't you see
I know it's real it's got to be
Why not chase it where it goes


Lyrics submitted by Lukasa, edited by foolwhoknows1

"Rose Darling" as written by Walter Carl Becker Donald Jay Fagen

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Rose Darling song meanings
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  • +9
    General Commenti've always taken that the song was about masturbation...You know, the whole rosy palm thing--rose darling--he can't "visit" rose until snake mary (girlfriend, wife) has fallen asleep. masturbation is a way to "make my wildest dreams come true"

    some pretty sick images follow if that's the way you read the lyrics. but maybe i'm wrong.
    fred30on June 06, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationHello one and all.

    Based on the lyrics I am convinced this is about a young man in a Catholic orphanage. Mary and Rose are both names associated with Catholicism. "Snake Mary" sounds like "Sister Mary" filtered through adolescent ears and further there is the suggestion she might be poor, consistent with a vow of poverty.

    I think "spore on the wind" and "feel it 'till it grows" are both premonitions that Rose will become pregnant from these encounters. 'Till it grows has a double meaning, but the fetus is the main implication. Not that our protagonist actually understands the coming consequence (wow, I can do double meanings too!). "What I've learned" is probably not much more than (1) that masturbation feels good and (2) you are cool if you do it in a girl. Both of which, to adolescents stuck the terminal institutional boredom, would be an irresistible diversion.

    Donald Fagan, if you are out there...after 30+ years of adult fandom, I am still maturing into new appreciation of Steely tunes. (Gold Teeth 2, at the moment.) Thank you for giving your all to this art, and condolences at the loss of your alchemical coniunctio.
    connectorontoon April 03, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's fairly obviously about sex and seducing a woman, wile using some incredibly crass euphemisms like their "steamy sounds of love", "make my wildest dreams come true", "you won't feel it 'til it grows" (he must be a grower not a shower!). "The spore is on the wind tonight" somehow refers to the way fungi reproduce through spores carried on the wind--perhaps that "love is in the air" tonight? Who's "Snake Mary," though? (And doesn't a snake seem vaguely phallic?)

    Something about Steely Dan singing about "steaming sounds of love" makes me giggle.
    ProfessorKnowItAllon September 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYour right,but I thought the lyric was 'St Mary's gone to bed". Or else I could be wrong
    kamakiriadon February 15, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionI think this song is clearly about a man who is cheating on his wife with either one of her realtives or a close family friend who is Rose, that is staying with them. Obviously him and wife don't have a good relationship that is why he's referring to her as a snake. He starts this affair with this woman thats staying with them. They have sex when the wife is sleeping and when she goes out of town. For him its more than sex now and he's falling in love with Rose. He wants to leave his wife Mary and start a relationship with Rose. But, he seems to want this more than Rose because he keeps having to convince her that their doing the right thing. I don't think Rose wants to hurt Mary.
    sweetteachon December 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmy interpetation of this song is rose darling come to me/snake marys gone to bed[my old lady is sleeping and out like a light.] all our steaming sounds of love,cannot disturb her in the nite or raise her sleeping head[please lets get it on rose. mary wont hear us.] all i ask of you/is make my wildest dreams come true/no-one sees and no-one knows] he is trying to seduce rose, pleading with her to have sex with him,and know one will ever know specificaly snake mary![rose darling come to me/snake mary dreams along/i would guess shes in detroit/with lots of money in the bank/although i could be wrong] now hes simply explaining that mary is in a deep sleep and dreaming. he speculates that she is dreaming of being in detroit with a lot of cash. mayby cause mary had talked of an ex lover in michagen that she wishes she could have burned for all he was worth and she cant stop regreting it? thus he regards mary as SNAKE. although i could be wrong.[you must know its right/the spore is on the wind tonite/you wont feel it till it grows] just a clever attempt to assure rose that everything is O.K. and only natural. when they become passionate mary will surrender to to the void. the sexual tension will consume rose and then she will finally understand.---CHORUS--rose darling my friend/with only you and what ive found/we-ll way the weary hours down.----he is simply assuring mary that he has what he wants and they can take advantage by having sex through the nite.[rose darling come to me/the clock is close at hand]he is getting desperate. rose is holding out,but if they dont get it on soon,mary will wake up. the time is now.[all my empty words of love can never screen the flash i feel or make you understand.] he realizes all his bullshit cant hide the fact that he just wants a peice of ass. he knows he cant bullshit her.[honey cant you see/i know its real its got to be/why not chase it where it goes?]this is the funniest part. he is now desperate,and realizes she aint going along with this crap. mayby she dont want to betray mary or rose simply is not in the mood? this is typical song writting from steely dan. they said in an interview that they laugh thier asses off writting a lot of songs. they inject humore into thier music while composing music about sensitive subjects and marry the music and lyrics so as the listener has to realy pay attention to get the joke.---example---everything you did from royal scam about a man catching his wife cheating on him.-halarious! and everyones gone to the movies from katy lied. all about a child molester. steely dan r the bomb. thier music is awsome no matter what subject they sing about. thats just my opinon. although i could be wrong
    arvinatoron September 04, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with magicstephanie, the slightly childish lyrics and references to "Snake Mary" make me think this is written from the perspective of a college kid trying to get it on with his girlfriend in his hostel room, while the night supervisor sleeps.
    I also think he has scored some cocaine and is wanting her to do a line with him i.e. "chase it where it goes", and the reference to "what I've found" what did he find?...a little coke methinks.
    Slydeon April 28, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDefinitely one of the Dans' best songs.
    mafrandon May 31, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFirst, it's definitely a drug song. "Only you and what I found" is key to that. The Dan is never so obvious as to make the song about the surface meaning (sex), although all the double entendres make it all that much better.

    Second, the posted lyric is wrong: it's "the spoor is on the wind tonight" which is a hunting/tracking reference and actually makes sense, as opposed to "spore". (Again, drugs and sex both work with that reference).

    And if you listen carefully, he definitely says Snake Mary, not Saint Mary (though that would make sense from a lyric perspective).
    foolwhoknows1on July 28, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song makes me happy whenever I hear it. Especially the chorus.
    gummoon January 25, 2014   Link

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