The Poem as Riddle…


December 2019
by dal ( states that a riddle is simply a statement which has a secret meaning.

They give as an example the following old favorite:

Brothers and sisters I have none but this man’s father is my father’s son.
Who is the man?

The answer of course is “the man is my son”.

But my favorite riddle from BrainDen could be a model for solving the puzzle of Forrest’s poem:

What is greater than God,
more evil than the devil,
the poor have it,
the rich need it,
and if you eat it, you’ll die?

The answer “nothing”.

At first unveiling the answer “nothing” sounds like a cheat…but it is not…and is best understood by turning each line of the riddle into a question, such as:

What is greater than God…nothing.
What is more evil than the devil…nothing.
What do the poor have…nothing.
What do the rich need…nothing.
What happens if you eat nothing…you die.

This I believe is the kind of riddle that could be contained in Forrest’s poem…

But wait!…there’s more…

Wikipedia ( is much more extensive and tells us that a riddle is:

…a statement or question or phrase having a double or veiled meaning, put forth as a puzzle to be solved. 

Wiki goes on to say:
…riddles have in the past few decades ceased to be part of oral tradition, being replaced by other oral-literary forms…

And then Wiki provides many very concise examples of riddles from various parts of the peopled world, from the Old Testament to Batman. All very fascinating, in my opinion and certainly furthers my interest in looking at Forrest’s poem as a riddle…

Wiki points out that there are two basic types of riddles…Enigmas and Cunundrums. Forrest’s riddle type would most definitely be an enigma.
Enigmas are problems expressed in allegorical language, requiring careful thinking and ingenuity to solve.

If I take the combined definitions from Wiki and BrainDen for “riddle”…I come up with:
A statement having a secret or hidden meaning put forth as a puzzle to be solved.

That certainly seems to sum up our poem. Further, knowing Forrest’s interest in words, word games, history and humor…the literary riddle seems to be right up his alley…

Nothing in any definition of a riddle that I have come across suggests a riddle is any kind of cipher or code.

Riddles have been part of literature for a very long time…

Ancient Sumerians lay claim to this one reputed to be over 4,000 years old:
What house do you enter blind but come out seeing?

Answer: A schoolhouse

In Alice in Wonderland the Mad Hatter asks Alice, how is a Raven like a writing desk?…
J. R. R. Tolkien planted riddles in The Hobbit.
Edgar Allen Poe wrapped riddles into a few of his works.
In Oedipus Rex the monster requires the answer to a riddle before the sojourner can continue.
Plato and Einstein played with riddles…Even Harry Potter contains riddles.

And riddles in poetry go nearly as far back as poetry itself. But there are plenty of modern examples as well. Emily Dickinson loved to riddle in her poems. Her poems were numbered. This is #466.

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –

Emily is describing poetry itself…fairer than prose…a kind of house she can live in.

I know what you’re thinking…so what’s the answer Dal? How did this help you solve the poem?
It hasn’t…but I’ve just started in on this approach.
Here’s how I think I might be able to use it…

Folks have suggested many times over the years that perhaps the clues all refer to the same place…
That could certainly be true in a literary riddle…as in the “nothing” riddle above where one word answers all the questions.

The word that is key which Forrest has referred to could be the answer to all the clues…again, as in the “nothing” riddle above.

It certainly gives me a new license to interpret “Brown”.

Forrest has said over and over that the puzzle of the poem is difficult but not impossible to figure out, and that is certainly what a riddle is…

Begin it in the corner but travel round the world.




The Key Word…Part Nine


This page is now closed to additional comments. To continue the conversation please go to the most recent “The Key Word” page.

“Many have given serious thought to the clues in the poem but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key.”

The above is a quote from Forrest. This page is where we can discuss what that key word might be.




Forrest Gets Mail – 24


Hello Mr Fenn,
My oldest son and I who had a rocky relationship due to his choice of wives and her inability  to let me just be a grandparent which cut off communication, began communicating with me because of your poem .

All excited with a “mom I’m obsessed by this”  we have begun communicating regularly about your poem and clues.

In a nutshell Mr Fenn, you have reunited a mother and son.  And hopefully I’ll see my grandkids soon.
I don’t anticipate a relationship with my daughter in law which is fine. Civility for the kids is my wish and we can on that.

I really need to know if the treasure has been located.
We can find other adventures now that we both know we truly love this sort of thing.  He never had any patience as a child or young man so his intentions on this I thought would be short lived. They are not.  He is really ready to go!

Being of little means and less $$, my husband and I took in three grand daughters from our middle son who was an addict. I’m not ready to burn gas from Green Bay WI,  home of the frozen tundra to follow 9 clues to anything.

Thus looking for you to be  honest and it will go no further if the chase must continue even if found for all your fans.   I’d prefer to bark up other trees is all if it has.

You already have me my treasure with getting my son back. But he still wants to find yours. I’ll follow and lead to ends of the earth for him. Just not if the end of the road on this one is a wasted trip.

Thank you for giving of yourself in a very stressful and sad point in your life. I took care of both of my parents as they took their last breaths from lung cancer. I understand the scary part and the can’t take it with you . All we leave here with is who we love and hopefully a piece of ourselves they hold onto.
God bless,


As of this posting the treasure chest is still where I hid it. Good luck to you and your son. f








Forrest Gets Mail – 23


Johnny and Donna were fortunate enough to experience something very rare in the Rockies. I have spent a lot of time there and have never been so lucky, but maybe next time…f

Dear Mr. Fenn,

We returned today from our most recent BOTG and wanted to tell you about a very exciting discovery.  While we were in the wood yesterday morning, Donna and I encountered a fully grown wolverine!  As a wildlife biologist/research scientist, I can assure you that this was an incredible experience…something that is too rare to even consider happening by chance alone.  The Chase put us in the right spot at the right time.  We will cherish  this MARVEL GAZE forever.  Donna found a newspaper article from last year that details the discovery of wolverines in the Wind River Range for the 1st time in over a century.  There is also a short video in the article.  Here’s the link;

We anticipated being able to go straight to the spot that we’ve had an eye on since last summer to search for Indulgence.  Unfortunately, foot travel became too dangerous and we were forced to turn back after only getting 1/3 of the way across the raging flow.  We are planning to return as soon as conditions improve.


Johnny & Donna








The Blaze…


This is the place to discuss the the blaze. What do you think it is? Is it temporary or permanent? Will it be around for a thousand years or doesn’t it matter? Is it easy to spot or difficult? Does the poem tell us what the blaze looks like or what it is?

Nick Lazaredes of SBS-TV’s Dateline in Australia interviewed Forrest in the spring of 2014. Here is Forrest explaining the BLAZE.

Forrest Gets Mail – 22


This email came in today and I am posting it here with permission from the writer. How do you help someone who says they don’t need help, when you know they do? f


Dear Forrest,

I want to thank you for just being you. I am a single mom of 5 kids and I raised all my kids the hard way pay check to pay check. I never had money to send my kids to the activities that kids do baseball soccer football cheerleading that kind of stuff that you got to pay a lot of money for. So anyway I instead found ways to to keep my kids entertained. And that was bottle digging and the dig is easy but doing the research of a town to find where a privy to dig up the privy to find a bottles doing the history was the thrill for me and it taught my kids a lot of stuff about Maps and history of the town they lived in. I took them in the woods to teach them to mushroom hunt for morels. We all went camping fishing in our little town. I would maybe have 5 bucks for gas and we would go drive around Missouri and look for creeks to walk in to look for arrowheads or get fish put them in our homemade fish tank, And so this is how you help me my kids all grew up they are all out on their own all 5 and they are all doing good with life. No drugs no serious drinking you know they’re just normal kids all five. I don’t know how I got so lucky cuz some moms out there are dealing with having to raise their grandbaby cuz the kids are on drugs, sad. Well after all kids left I was alone I spent my whole life taking care of my kids and when the last one left I felt so alone. I was like making plans to just weather away and die because I had no kids to take care of anymore. And then you came along and your story. Well I am still a little too poor to afford your book but one day I will be able to and I’ll get to read your book I’m excited about that one day. Well I got to see a lot of it. Your book off of you tube…And your treasure hunt got me back into looking up history learning about the Indians and the brown trout how beautiful Yellowstone is I don’t get to see it in person but I do get to see it through other people’s cameras the GoPros whatever they use to film stuff. It got me out of feeling sorry for myself and getting back to living. And what you said about you can shut one door and open other, So once again I am living and that is why I felt the need to write you and thank you. I do love the Thrill of the chase I didn’t get to read your book but just the thrill of the chase of looking up history in finding something that’s never been found. I do know about your poem that you have no x letter in your poem and. X marks the spot..That is really neat. Your kewl. Take care and thanks for being you.









Forrest Gets Mail – 21

canada map vector

A dear friend sent me an email today to announce the birth of a grandchild. She sounded like she had just won the lotto.
Here is part of that email. Maybe there will be a rush of treasure hunters across our northern border. What do you think? f

Forrest, guess what…here in Canada someone heard your poem/treasure story and they formed a company that hid 3 treasures in 3 cities and wrote a poem for each city/treasure. One in Vancouver, British Columbia, one in Edmonton, Alberta and one in Calgary, Alberta. Each treasure chest is worth approximately $100,000. They had several writers/poets who wrote the clues for each of the three poems. They are selling the poems for each city, $25 each or $45 each with bonus clues. They were hoping that the sales for the poems would offset the initial treasures combined total of $300,000 in gold and silver Canadian coins. The poems were released on June 1, 2019. As of June 2 the Edmonton treasure had been discovered.

I’d say they might should have just asked for your poem/clue writing abilities in order to elude their treasures searchers a touch longer. At least it got people out of there house for a day, perhaps the other two cities will be slightly more challenging but I believe neither will outlast yours!!

Have a wonderful day,