99 thoughts on “Architecture of the Poem…

  1. As I write, the snow covers the chase and makes me wonder if the thrill in being wise is knowing what “I” actually means.

  2. I may be wrong, but I believe that Mr. Fenn said that he felt like an architect while constructing the poem. I don’t believe that he received assistance from an architect. I am not sure if his comment his helpful in solving the poem. Perhaps it is.

  3. For me the private act of poetry writing is songwriting, confessional, diary-keeping, speculation, problem-solving, storytelling, therapy, anger management, craftsmanship, relaxation, concentration and spiritual adventure all in one inexpensive package.
    Stephen Fry, author, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist[46]

    • Hi Whiskeyes: you forgot to include comedian and actor. Stephen is extremely talented, and his British show Q.I. (Quite Interesting) is terrific!

  4. I’ve thought about this concept ’till my brain hurts (which never takes very long) ..and am of the opinion that the most important component to any architecture is often unseen by the observer.

    I believe that Forrest has woven two layers into his poem;
    one being ‘the facade’, the other being ‘the structure’.

    I just really really (REALLY) hope that there’s not a third layer, as I’ve completely run out of aspirin, again
    🙂

  5. I think he simply meant that he had to design and craft the poem with attention to detail like an architect. The poem had to be ‘built’ with careful choices for each word to assure they had the proper meaning for the message he wanted to convey.

    -Randawg.

    • I agree Randawg. This is the interpretation of his statement that came to mind when I heard him say he felt like an architect.

    • I also agree Randawg, but with a slightly different spin.

      Before ever climbing that ladder and climbing into the cockpit of that F-100 there was a tremendous amount of mission planning to increase the odds of success. Though not as critical as war planning, commercial/private pilots file flight plans.

      In architecture you must first plan and then design. But during design, the architect will tweak his design because he’s striving for perfection. That’s exactly what I think f is referring to in his use of the term.

      So considering the quality of brainpower being applied to solving this puzzle, I think he’s a Master Architect, deserving of all the accolades bestowed on him, past, present, and future.

      • Architects don’t strive for perfection. All new designs can be considered radical. Until (it) is standing and proven, the builder/architect remains in true suspense of weather the design was successful…..or not.

      • Pinatubocharlie I agree that ff had very good plans and put a great deal of work making the poem just right,or the chest would have been found. Don’t count out his love of adventure and flexibility- “Flying North”, he just got in his plane and flew until he found a spot the wanted to land, no plans or flight plans. What a great way to escape from the rat race.

        • Forrest has enough flexibility to be a Russian gymnast! I think he may have built into the poem 22 of his favorite adventure spots…just because he could, and just to keep folk searching for many years.

    • Don’t confuse the difference between an architect and an engineer. An architect focuses more on the artistry and design of the building, while the engineer focuses more on the technical and structural side. Fenn’s poem needs to work and provide a solution, an architect can draw something that does not have to work. I personally think Forrest chose the wrong word, unless the poem leads to nothing 😀

  6. The difference between good and bad architecture is the time you spend on it. – David Chipperfield

    Forrest spent 15 years on it.

    • That was a very fun little rabbit hole! A mystery, secrets, a murder, an possible illicit love affair. Wow, that has all the components of a great novel. It’s fun to speculate on what actually happened way, way, way back then!
      Thanks for sharing!

  7. Looking at his comments holistically related to poem structure I wonder how related he intended some of the things he uses to describe the poem.

    1) “They’re contiguous, I knew where I wanted to hide the treasure chest so it was easy for me to put one foot down and then step on it to get to the next foot, thats what I did.” Also use of term “sequential”. In my opinion related descriptions about working backwards from his spot to identify related places, paths, etc. and “then step” meaning creating poetic clues and rhyme.

    2) “I felt like an architect”. Perhaps describing the more complex design of the poem. The second or third layer if you will. Straight forward and sequential? Yes. But architecture is about design with the intent of an end objective of maximizing strength, stability, flow, etc. therefore in context of his poem most likely to increase the complexity and depth so that the chase will last longer. IMO

  8. Forrest has said, “Here is what I would do. Read my book in a normal manner. Then read the poem over and over and over, slowly – thinking. Then read my book again, this time looking for subtle hints that will help solve the clues.” f.

    Why does Forrest repeat over and over the fact that we should read the poem over and over and over again? When I did this, Stanza #6 “in the wood” seemed to flow into “alone in there. They almost became one. For me, this showed me the circular architecture of the poem. This process took me from a global view of where the treasure lies, to a very specific place that I feel it lies. Without looking closely at this circular architecture, I do not feel that I would be where I am today…I feel, close to finding the treasure. But that is just me, others may see it differently. JDA

      • I walk approximately 1/2 mile (Give or take 200′) from the parking place to where I think that the treasure lies.

        I will know this spring. JDA

        • I was just curious. I’ll have the Nehi chillin’.
          But I need to add this. Of course you know f walked less than 1 mile to the spot. but then says, “if you are walking long distances in search of the treasure, you’re walking TOO FAR.” And the poem saying “not far but TOO FAR to walk”, obvious one must walk a long distance.
          So, is 1/2 a mile a long distance? We will find out in the Spring, right? I don’t want to burst your bubble by saying this person’s name, but, Seeker made good points awhile back by bringing up f’s after comments and how important they are. The architecture of the poem is one thing, but the architecture of his words and how he uses them as far as the chase is concerned is what needs attention. The first clue “nailed down”, the word that is “key”, not far BUT too far, if he walked only 1 mile, what walked the “long distance” for him? All things that need to be considered. Good luck JDA…

          • I thought that the “Not far, but too far to walk” related to the distance between wwwh and hoB, NOT from the parking spot to the treasure. At least that is the way I see it, but you may be right, and I could be wrong. we will see this spring Charlie.

            JDa

          • NFBTFTW to me is a distance of greater than 6 miles (for an 80 yr old man).

            I do understand that there are many 80 yr old men that can probably walk greater distances, but not on average, so we must use statistics or averages for this distance.

            Why six miles to start? No real reason except it is one marked distance I have found in my solve….driving along a mountain service road.

            Now could it be a larger distance? Possibly. I have a measurementbif 52 miles to “take the canyon down”.

            IMO – Fenn structured the poem to include some precise measurements within the poem from clue to clue.

            I’ve even used his 8.25 miles “distance”, and have applied it to the distance between two clues…almost precisely for my solve.

            Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

            Just my input.

          • The funny thing about NFBTFTW. fenn, in the second book, related it to is age… Don’t have the book, just going by what others have quoted from the book… IMO, that simply related to time. At one time he was able to, and now at this time, not capable of. Physically? or in time?

          • Charlie, where did ff ever tell us he walked less than a mile???? He made two trips from his car to the hiding spot “in one afternoon”, that could be anywhere from 10 minutes to 6 hours. IMO it is probably less than a mile, probably a lot less, but I have never read or heard any comment that limited how far it is in a distance. Could you let me know where he said that? It could eliminate some of my spots.

    • JDA, I believe that you are onto something here. It is obvious to me that you and I are hundreds of miles apart in our solutions (in regard to location). Yet, in general I am with you. I want to read through the remainder of the posts before I make a comment that further explains this reply.

  9. pdenver–

    Not sure how much help it will be, but I immediately thought of abbreviations and acronyms when thinking of architecture. Happy hunting! 🙂

  10. There is a lot of pleasure in designing/creating works like house plans or a poem full of clues. Of course, there’d be a lot of pleasure in opening the chest. Don’t you all want to see the framework, the hidden structure that Forrest’s mind designed, and not just for the sake of an emerald or two, but to be able to see the solution/answer/secrets?

  11. IMO – Architects design using methods which use two dimensional tools, either on paper or using a computer program. The outcome, the building is three dimensional, where it sits on the land, its position, which way the building faces, the size of the structure etc. Forrest had to answer these type of questions on paper (2d) with a 3d outcome. With his words he is trying to position you in a 3d world without saying the chest is at such and such place.

  12. Perhaps Mr. Fenn also sought to design his poem with the same attention to symmetry that an architect often employs. Thus giving us 24 lines to find a 42 pound treasure (2442 a nice symmetrical number).

  13. Perhaps a better word from Forrest could have been “Surveyor” but “Trail Blazer” also comes to mind.

    Tom T

    • 8.25 miles can be anywhere north of Santa Fe. It doesn’t mean you start 8.25 miles north of Santa Fe.

      Notice FF is not spevific, yet vague, as he is with all of his quotes. He says things on purpose, in order for the listener to understand his method and probably more so for his own enjoyment….which I haven’t ruled out yet.

      Cheers and GL in 2017.

    • Joshua,
      While that is a clever thought. The comment was; more than 66,000 links… Even if it was meant as 825 miles, we still have the ‘more than’ to consider.
      Do you think this was an actual hint/clue from fenn or imo, again, just a thought provoking idea that might help the reader to be ‘precise’ in attempting to solve the poem?

      Some searcher continue to believe fenn is attempting to lead them to the chest by many hints external from the poem and the book. WW’s is a good example of this, as some thought fenn was directly hinting to them through their e-mails to fenn and fenn replying hints back in WW’s… and dismiss the fact that those comments were provided months in advance.

      I have to wonder with all the effort fenn put into this challenge, not only for the now explorer, but to influence generations from now… why he would actually ‘help’ in the discovery. Imo, this challenge was cleverly crafted to get folks out, searching, looking, exploring..discovering the thrill.. but designed for the one that can pull it all together with the information that fenn provided within the poem. I personally don’t think of the after the facts as hints / clues… but designed to provide thought.

      Why are the RM’s sections of Idaho and Utah removed? Why is Canada not in the running [ the mistake in tftw book]? Why not just say the chest is within a single state? Why didn’t fenn tell the readers the RM’s from the start? are just a few things I think about and never considered hints/or clues only thought provoking….Well, except for one… Canada. That was a strange oversight for such a meticulous man with years of planning, not see, and placed inside a second book, titled with part of the poem.

      So your post begs the question… why remove the . when the comment was actually about 66,000 links explaining ‘surveying’ methods?

      • seeker—-

        The “mistake” about Canada has often intrigued me. Could this “mistake” actually be a hint concerning a clue? Wolf had mentioned a few years back that Canada could be the Home of Brown, as Roy Brown, a Canadian pilot, shot down Baron Von Richthofen in WW1.

        When I first came to the board I wondered whether “from there it’s no place for the meek” might refer to the USA as it is called “the home of the brave” (thus, no place for the meek).

        The two lines, HOB, and “no place for the meek” follow one another, so the thought of a “border” seemed to appear.

        I just wanted to share that as I hadn’t pondered it for quite a while.

        • I’m right there with you Sparrow on that point. Not the snoopy version of the red baron, but the ‘home’ of the brave.
          Our national symbol is the bald eagle, Canada is the beaver. I don’t look at ‘home’ has a place or physical residence like a house, as much as habitation. IF this should be correct in the separation of the border… then we might conclude “the end” as the same usage; boundary or border…but if so… it shouldn’t be THAT border or boundary area, but another, right?

          The problem with this type of interpretation is, the first clue. In my mind the first clue is completely associated with all the clues that lead to that other boundary or border. The first clue is a place, but not what many might think a place is… in this theory.

  14. As a new searcher I sometimes find it difficult to understand exactly what everyone is talking about and I think many times it’s because people use terms differently. I thought it would be fun to brainstorm some definitions and categories with respect to poem architecture in this discussion. I may be off base but here are my initial observations about your collective thoughts after reading for a few months. Feel free to correct the assessment!

    Depth:
    Single – The poem clue are read and used once. This does not exclude multiple meanings of clues but does restrict their use to one application.
    Multiple – The poem clues are read and used multiple times in multiple applications.

    Structure:
    Linear – Clues essentially provide a consecutive set of directions which ultimately will take you from a single starting location to the hide; whether or not those clues are used once or multiple times with potentially multiple meetings is irrelevant.
    Layered – Clues have layers which must be used in conjunction with each other in one way or another to determine the hide location. Similar to the concept of a geospatial overlay.

    Style:
    Literal – Words and sentences mean what they say. The solve is primarily logical.
    Imaginative – Words and sentences are heavily imaginative and metaphorical. The solve is primarily solved using this method.
    Both – Both styles are of equal necessity.

    • Clee,
      Your someone who is brainstorming… It’s great to see, when many know what they think they know.

      I will comment on one of your categories; Multiple Meanings… My thoughts, not only can the meaning and usages of a word or phrase be used more than once for understanding a clue, but actually twisting the “usage”. My best example is creek; simply meaning a narrow passage. Yes, narrow as water moving though in most “definition”
      But does water need to be involve, to have the word be correctly used as something else without water involved? I think it can be, and still hold true to both usages of straightforwards… even without water involvement.

      I can say the same with “begin it” and its usage to “begin it where” which in my thought can change the poem past and present design, to be of the past and not so much thought of being in the present… which it seems, how it was used in stanza 1 [past tense].

    • Macro:
      Looking down into a region from above, normally by a map of sorts.

      Micro:
      Street level Google Earth
      Boots on the ground
      Verily specific trail map

      Good luck.

  15. Architecture of the poem – If the poem was a home, you might be able to say that the first two stanzas are the roof and trusses, the middle two verses are the walls and the last two verses the floor and foundation.

    Each is essential to the other, yet we do not design a home based upon the roof. Nor do we design a home based upon the design of a rugged foundation. It is really all about the [middle, the rooms, the living area] where we intend to function comfortably.

    Yet construction takes place from the foundation to floors, walls to roof and finally finishing off the [middle, the rooms, the living area] which is the ultimate goal.

    So every stage is equally important – at the appropriate time.

    If those architectural basics are applied to the poem (IMHO), then the last, two stanzas provide for
    [architects plan = Forrest’s motive]
    along with the [foundation = general area of the Chase]

    The first, two stanzas provide for the [roof and trusses = specific area of the Chase].

    The middle, two stanzas provide for the [walls & living area = the clues that actually hide/will lead to the chest.]

    Not sure if that helps anybody…but it works for me!

    • For those who might say, “NO, you are not following the poem in the order that it was written!” One must ask, “Would that be sequential order or chronological order or numerical order or alphabetical order or -perhaps- architectual order?”

    • LMN;

      I see it possibly in a similar manner, but up-side-down.

      For me Stanza #1 lays the foundation. Without the foundation, the structure is built on soft sand. Get the foundation correct, and the rest of the structure will stand fast.

      Stanza’s 2,3,4 and 5 all provide the details needed to build the floors, the walls, and the ceiling joists. Many see stanza’s 5 and 6 as just ornamentation – the frills on the house. I do not. For me, they provide as much “structural” information as do stanza’s 2, ,3 and 4.

      Stanza #6 is the roof. Without a roof, you just have a BOX, of “n” number of levels. With a roof, you have a house or home, or business office, or whatever – a livable/usable structure. Stanza #6 ties the foundation to the walls, to the roof. It is what brings it ALL together. JDA

      • JDA, I am not sure what you see, wish I did, I see some structure similar to you though maybe. I do not think the poem is upside down however, IMO. I reference Kenworthy’s books in the following, on how to read a coded letter map. There is no map legend provided by Fenn to indicate North, no big scribed N or compass arrow. How do we know North is at the top of the poem, and that the poem is not a mirror image? I will throw out a big one to kick off 2017. Look on line one of the poem. You will see the letter “s” in the very first word “As”, so perhaps South is at the top of the poem? Hidden right there in front of your nose the whole time. But wait, this is contradicted because there is also an “n” in the word “gone”, so perhaps North is at the top of the poem? I believe North is correctly at the top, as the word “gone” has an “e” adjacent and to the right or east of the “n”, proving the correct cardinal orientation of the poem. This is confirmed again in line one of the poem by to word “alone” . For a second time in line one, on the very top of the poem, Fenn tells us North is at the top and East is to the right, therefore South is at the bottom, etc. If the poem is a map of sorts, the poem architecture is correctly oriented. That is about as explicit as I can explain it for you. It would be generous if someone could respond with something as equally useful, either on the blog or privately.

        • Homebrew;

          My comment has nothing to do with North or South. My comment was directed to LMN, who said that to him, Stanza #1 related to the roof of a structure. I think that stanza #1 relates to the foundation.

          For me, I think that to try to equate an “S” in aS to equal South, or the “N” in goNe to relate to North, is a far stretch – either way.

          What about the “N” in “in” – a”S” I went aloNe iN there and with my treaSures bold, I caN keep my Secret where, aNd hiNt of treaSures New aNd old. – Which “S” or “N” do we follow? – I guess that there are more “N”‘s than “S”‘s so it means North – Sorry, I just do not think that that is a hint or clue. But what do I kNow. JDA

          • Again referencing Kenworthy, look at the top of the poem. I am only looking at line one for cardinal directions. Not all of stanza one. Maybe it will help someone.

          • Yes he may be able to solve it. To consult with him however, I would need the assistance of the Long Island Medium. Best of luck to you also.

        • Homebrew;

          I agree with you that the poem is a map of sorts.

          IF you can correctly figure out the correct wwwh, you will be able to locate it on a map. From there, one can correctly locate a canyon, and take it “down” – meaning either southerly or lower in elevation, or both. One can either drive (going parallel to the valley floor – may or may not have water in it) For me, and my solve, it does. Travel a certain distance (NF,BTFTW) and put in BELOW (South of maybe) the hoB. A map is being drawn, or you are following your progress through the poem on a GOOD map. Just my way of reading the poem – yours may differ. JDA

        • Homebrew, it’s only my opinion, but when determining the beginning place/state you plan to start, I believe it’s more beneficial to consider the 32 points of the mariners compass and plot an X rather than selectively following n-s-e-w letters thru the poem. As an aviator wouldn’t Forrest naturally follow the compass points on his radar screen? I chose the mariners compass because it’s the oldest compass based upon fixed celestial stars. The Aviators compass was adapted from the mariners compass. In Thrill of the Chase, Forrest mentions employing mountain man wisdom to determine directions indicating directions based upon the sun/stars. He also included a photograph of himself flying his Piper Malibu above a dirt road. Caption reads headed north, but if you assume top of page is N then he would actually be heading south. This could be a hint that he used nonconventional directional methods.

          After determining your “spot” or spots to search IMO all rules may be thrown out the proverbial window. He may have used lone star bottle cap pictures and Egyptian hieroglyphs or it could be straight forward directions according to poems 9 sentences.

          Forrest is a sly fox and in my ‘guesstimation’ a genius. After 4 years I have no illusions about matching wits or getting inside his head. For all we know he was a signal code breaker, artist, savant, and 32nd degree mason while writing books, cultivating the art world and acting as botonist planting Mike Kammerer’s ranch..right?

    • LMN,
      I get the analogy and it falls in line somewhat with this thought~ Randawg stated it well~ I think he simply meant that he had to design and craft the poem with attention to detail like an architect. The poem had to be ‘built’ with careful choices for each word to assure they had the proper meaning for the message he wanted to convey.
      -Randawg.

      I bring this comment in conjunction with yours’ because of “detail”… The one thing fenn stated was, the “clues” are on consecutive order. The plan itself, might be, another ballgame. We keep looking at the poem as a structure, and may be we should look at it as having designed plan… this imo is where contiguous falls into place.

      Attempting to “find” clues in the poem, instead of having the clue ‘present’ themselves. The reason I say his is, just like your foundation, to the roof it seems to imply, we need to locate the clues first, then just proceed from there. Does this “finding” what we hope are clues confuse us even more?

      Personally and in my opinion only… I think fenn designed to poem to have us fool ourselves to do exactly what many are doing… 1. find what we think are the clues and match it to the physical land. 2. Stomp allover the mountains looking for that elusive first clue, we hope we know, to be the first clue, and simply walk to the chest. The poem thus far has done just that.

      We are starting 2017, seven years into this, So I would like to repeat my favorite question… Are we reading the poem wrong? LOL ~ I promise not to ask this question again until 2018.
      I’m just going to sit back now, and read comments like; ‘I know within 12′ were the chest is’ or ‘pick a method and stay with it’ or ‘I know where it is now, again, and will retrieve when the weather is better next spring or summer or fall… yada yada yada.

    • Hi LMN, you say the specific area of the chase is in the first 2 stanzas? That is bold… and, does that mean that you don’t see the ‘word that is key’ in the first stanza? Using this logic then the ‘key’ would be in stanzas five or six.

      I wonder, why a house and not some other structure?, or did you use that example only to make your point about the architecture of the poem.

      • HI Oz! My post was my attempt to contribute to the blog without revealing too much about my solution. I used the house, simply because we can all relate the the design and construction of a home. Without laboring over my post I will try to clarify by answering your questions. Yes, I do think that the first 2 stanzas provide me with a specific (within 500 ft.) area. I do believe that I – understand – the “word that is key.” Not sure why you assume that I conclude that I am saying it is found in the last 2 stanzas.

        • Oz. That was a very poor sentence that I ended with in my reply. So, I am saying the “word that is key” would not be (IMHO) in the last 2 stanzas.

        • Lmn, you are right, that was my assumption based on your solve that the last 2 contain the [architects plan = Forrest’s motive] and why not hid a key within the ‘plan’ I thought…

          I see your logic there but many will definitely say that is not contiguos or straightforward, I’m open to all ideas though.

          • Oz, It is contiguous and straight forward, IF stanza 5 serves as -both- a straight forward 5th stanza AND a point that the poem could loop and start all over again and therefore be contiguous as well. Forrest did a masterful job or tens of thousands of searchers over thousands of days and millions of minutes would have already completed the Chase.

  16. Remember… F said…
    “What surprises me a little is that nobody, to my uncertain knowledge, has analyzed one important possibility related to the winning solve.”
    Maybe, the “poetic angles” help to determine what the nine clues are, and the “angles” need to be analyzed. They are defiantly present in the poem.
    “Angles” are a basic necessity in architecture .

    • That particular Forrest quote is about 24 months old (or more) and it would be nice to know if he would say that is still true today.

      • LMN, It doesn’t matter how old his quips of reference are, look at the one from yrs ago…”Begin at the beginning.” Still applies today. I have NEVER heard him say, “Oh, THAT old thing? That doesn’t apply to today!” LOL
        Sorry, but your comment struck me as rather ludicrous.
        But hey! He did mention some advice he got YEARS ago, to not correct someone when they are wrong, so LMN, you just disregard EVERYTHING F said up til, say, yesterday, so we all have a fighting chance of finding the treasure!

        It still holds true today, or someone would have the treasure now. Always keep an open mind to new ideas, my idea may be what he’s talking about. I’ll keep working on it. You keep on …what ever you do. (Said with a smile)
        All MO.
        ¥Peace ¥

        • Hi Donna!

          What LMN was wondering is if ff would/could still say today “. . . that nobody, to my uncertain knowledge, has analyzed one important possibility related to the winning solve.”

          Seems like a pretty reasonable question to me.

          K

      • Ya-sha-wa… thanks! I see that. I agree with your process, F said not all nouns are clues, but logic dictates that you hit on some good ones. ( IMO)
        Also your advice on the ones that down play other’s ideas…yes. Agreed.
        I feel the design of the poem is as important as what F is saying in the poem. They go hand in hand. Each step leads to another step.
        I Enjoy your thoughts!
        ¥Peace ¥

        • Thank you Donna M !
          I just posted some NPS Arrowhead Worksheets at the same thread that may interest you . Forrest is a slick one and a comment of not “all” nouns for sure would be true when we are only talking about some nouns and even nouns that are not in the poem . Enjoy !
          NAMASTE !

  17. When I studied Architecture, back in the dark ages, all of our projects began with a perspective drawing of the completed project. Then came front, side and floor plan drawings. The final drawings were details of construction.

    This approach would dovetail nicely with end where you begin theory.

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