My Opinion (Revised): The Nine Clues in Fenn’s Treasure Poem

DSCN7514I have, as of about five minutes before starting to write this post, revised my opinion on what are, exactly, the clues in Fenn’s treasure poem. I have revised The Poem page to reflect my new thinking, and I’ve included it in this post as well.

The obvious question is, simply, “Why?”

I spend at least an hour every night reading The Poem, attempting to see it from new angles and discover other meanings. Tonight, for the first time, and for just a moment, I saw The Poem from the same angle an aviator might have seen it. It’s a spatial perspective, rather than temporal.

I saw a set, a group, and a pattern…all previously unseen (by me).

Here’s my new reading of the poem and it’s nine clues: (you can compare it to the older version included at the bottom of this post)


As I have gone alone in there
And with my treasures bold,
I can keep my secret where,
And hint of riches new and old.

1. Begin it where warm waters halt
2. and take it in the canyon down,
3. not far, but too far to walk.

4. Put in below the home of Brown.
5. From there it’s no place for the meek,
6. the end is ever drawing nigh;

7. there’ll be no paddle up your creek,
8. just heavy loads
9. and water high.

(Note: I have converted the two stanzas containing the nine clues into normal sentences without the capitalization associated with the poetic structure. I’ve limited capitalization to the first word in each complete sentence and the proper noun “Brown.”)

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.

So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.

I came to the conclusion, as a result of my research that the first line of the fourth stanza, “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,” is not a clue. It’s the objective.

Thus, as of this evening, I further concluded that searching for the treasure chest is a complete waste of time.

I’ll bet that caught you off guard!

From now on, I’m searching for the blaze.


This is the previous version:

As I have gone alone in there
And with my treasures bold,
I can keep my secret where,
And hint of riches new and old.

1. Begin it where warm waters halt
2. and take it in the canyon down,
3. not far, but too far to walk.
4. Put in below the home of Brown.

5. From there it’s no place for the meek,
6. the end is ever drawing nigh;
7. there’ll be no paddle up your creek,

8. just heavy loads and water high.
9.
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,

Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.

So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.

4 thoughts on “My Opinion (Revised): The Nine Clues in Fenn’s Treasure Poem

  1. I agree, that the blaze is the objective, because it maybe the only physical object / place one actually can go in the poem. I like the explanations that both Toby and Halogetter have put forth. But once at the blaze. with whatever method one uses to get there, will the chest be at this location?

    My 9 clues are much different then most. I have believed from the start of my reading of the poem, that it has structure. When FF said at the signing, the poem was written by an Architect, This struck a cored with me.

    My thoughts on the 9 clues; 9 sentences, 6 stanzas, 4 lines per stanza, 25 capital letters, 24 capital letters in each line, 4 clues in the poem itself [ WWWH, Canyon, HOB, Tarry scant]
    As for the rest of the words in the poem, FF tells us in the 1st stanza. ” And hint of riches new and old.” MY interpretation is the Hints in the poem tell you how to use the structure to solve the location of the Blaze and then the location of the chest. Not necessarily in the same spot.

  2. Toby-
    I’ve been reluctant to post on your site. It’s very well put together and informative, but 3 major blogs to peruse seems about right, and also works well with 9. And you had to go and start an excellent site. Dang. Well, that’s a good thing, so what the heck. I am working with a spatial understanding of contiguous clues, and this caught my eye.

    First, you’ve altered some capital letters there. Is that by accident, or intentional?

    Your list of clues evidences 3 x 3 = 9 (among other things). I believe that’s important regarding the 9 clues, although with a different breakdown of why, and I have avoided posting it. And it is certainly a worthwhile exercise to examine the poem by unlocking it, so to speak, from the given line/stanza form of 6 x 4 = 24, etc.

    “Put in below the home of Brown” is unique as a one-liner (take my wife please), yet is as connected to the next line “From there” as it is to the line above it. And Forrest said “contiguous”, and that supports this reading. So when you read “From there”, it can work like this: “From home of Brown it’s no place for the meek”. But also, what about the use of “there” in the very first line? “As I have gone alone in there”- you could also be going from that “there” as well.

    I see that you’ve identified two clues in the first two lines of stanza 2. Many have commented on the smooth, spoken transition by Forrest when he read those two lines on November 2nd, and you were present recording it- there was no pause on “halt” and his words followed continuously as punctuated with no comma after “halt”. So are these two lines two clues, as you’ve noted, or one continuous clue?

    I would be interested to know what your interpretation of the purpose of the semi-colon would be in the position you’ve given, with the jump to clue 7.

    Regarding separation of “heavy loads” and “water high” into two distinct clues, I offer this analysis, taken from an bit I’ve written on stanza 3 but have not yet posted:

    It’s a strange dichotomy between lines 3 and 4 of stanza 3, in that he’s negating an action in line 3 (unless you think that he’s saying there is no physical paddle (noun) up your creek), but proposing one or two things (associated with one or two adjectives) in line 4. They’re not obvious equivalents like pie or cake. It’s more like action versus stuff. There’ll be no paddling, but hey, check out those things over there.

    The structure of lines 3 and 4 are like this: There’ll be NO: paddle up your creek, JUST: heavy loads and water high. There’ll be NO this action (if it IS action), JUST these things. A positive reading could be “There will be heavy loads and water high”, and the fact that there’ll be no paddle up your creek could be a tip-off of this assertion, important information about a path or a creek, and/or a confirmation or elaboration of some other idea in the poem. I believe this stanza tells you exactly what to do.

    So with “Just heavy loads and water high” there are multiple readings of the language structure, including these:
    A. Just: (heavy loads) and (water high).
    B. Just: (heavy loads and water) high.
    C. Just: heavy (loads and water) high.

    These are very different concepts in how you group the nouns with adjectives. He puts the nouns in the middle (loads and water) and the adjectives on the perimeter (heavy and high). And water high is of course a different reading/meaning than high water.

    In A, you have two things (nouns), loads and water, each characterized by two adjectives, heavy and high. So you are thinking of/looking for heavy loads and also for water high, which could be separate from each other. They could be near or far from each other as things or concepts.

    But in B, you have a direct association of heavy loads and water together, and together they are high. I can think of multiple physical and conceptual examples. But “heavy loads and water” are integral, joined, and then characterized by being “high”.

    In example C, it’s again different. There are just heavy (loads and water); the loads and water are integral and together heavy, and they are high. It’s a subtle difference.

    You’ve left stanza 4 out of the clue count entirely. As Forrest said “…nine clues that if followed precisely, will lead to the…treasure”, which implies that the treasure can be found directly with the 9 clue solutions. Do you think that you can get directly to the treasure location without the blaze being included as a clue? I’m not saying that you can’t, just posing the question.

    SYand42lbsHeavier,
    Halogetter

    • Thank you for putting so much time into your effort. Here are some additional thoughts:

      The alteration of the capital letters is intentional and punctuationally correct for the three sentences.

      I don’t necessarily agree “Put in below the home of Brown” is unique as one liner. To me, it is one of category a. as are the 2 other first lines in the 2 other groups I’ve identified.

      I read the relationship between “Put in below the home of Brown” and “From there it’s no place for the meek” differently. To me they are categories a. and b. of three categories a., b. and c.

      In my conclusion, there are no clues other than in the second and third stanzas. There may be, on the other hand, accidental or incidental hints in the other stanzas.

      “There” in the first stanza and “there” in the second stanza are not the same location.

      In my conclusion about the poem, each group of three lines is unique and independent from the other two group. All three groups contain the same set of categories, i.e, a. b. c., a. b. c., and a. b. c.

      I’m ignoring the poetic structure, and the reading, of the poem entirely because I think it was contrived to produce a poem. But, a poem is what we have to work with.

      To me, the first two lines in the second stanza are two clues, categories a. and b. of a. b. and c.

      The semi-colon at the end of 6. is a by-product of his desire to compose a poem, and not necessarily a punctuational connection to 7.

      I’m not searching for the treasure, I’m searching for the blaze. Fenn says, “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, Look quickly down, your quest to cease…” Thus, the blaze is the objective, not a clue.

      • Toby
        Thanks for the clarifications. Everything you said fits with the poem that you previously posted, with no surprises regarding the structure and reading of it. Regarding the blaze, I’m not searching for some kind of marker in the field, it’s revealed in the poem.

        Halogetter

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