A POEM ABOUT TRUTH
Commentary and Interpretation
by Lawrence Jacobs, Ph.D
1. May 18, 1944. At Hitler's war conference he is told that the enemy
has carried out two spy operations during the night on the heavily defended
For a true understanding of this short manuscript we must examine every
word, every symbol, and allow light to fall on it from every angle. Newman
himself lived a life of allegory. During his time at Princeton he consciously
adopted poses and cultivated a public personality. Throughout his life he
showed his contempt for American writers, favoring European authors Andre
Gide, Thomas Mann and Graham Greene, along with a host of Latin mystical
luminaries. His most important early work was a paper constructed around
the thesis that James Joyce did not exist. It was Newman's contention that
Andre Gide created Joyce and the complex Joycian style in order to win two
Nobel prizes in literature.
Paul Simon, in his songwriting workshops, says, "Begin with something
true." Newman here likewise begins with a truth. In fact, the sentence
is lifted, unmodified, from the opening line of a historical biography on
Rommel. The sentence serves as a symbolic device that appears to lock the
story into a specific time and place, a starting point from which everything
that follows will unwind.
The significant selected moment is shortly before D-Day. World War Two is
a classic good versus evil conflict. Hitler is readily identified as a symbol
of the forces of evil througout world history. D-Day, though not the decisive
end to the war, proved to be the decisive turning point of the war. This
event has been chosen as a symbol of the events surrounding the atonement,
that is, the crucifiction and resurrection of Christ. For Newman, there
are three signficant events that are necessary for our understanding in
order to grasp the nature of reality. First of these is the Fall. The world
is broken, Pandora's Box is opened. Evil has entered the world. The second,
which equates to D-Day, is the entrance of light into the world in the person
of Jesus Christ. The powers of reconciliation and redemption have entered
the world. While the effects of evil are still present, a decisive action
has taken place in historical time. The parallel: even though Hitler still
controlled the Continent, his end was already pre-determined by the successful
beachhead at Normandy.
The spy missions were carried out at night, under cover of darkness. In
the beginning, God separated light from darkness, and gave the sun and moon
to rule day and night. The sun speaks of the true light: truth, goodness
and virtue. The moon, whose existence derives from borrowed light, speaks
of the devil. The spies made their landing during the reign of the powers
of darkness, which corresponds with the invasion into Hitler's -- that is,
Satan's -- heavily defended domain.
2. At one place, near Calais, German troops have found an orange peel,
an empty flask, and a shovel lying on the beach.
There were three items found on the beach. Although three is typically the
number of the Godhead, these symbols point to a false or counterfeit God.
The orange peel is a symbol of the fruits of the earth. The peel shows that
man has already extracted his succor from the fruits of natural desire.
The empty flask speaks of the death of the spirit. Fallen man is an empty
shell, an empty flask, or as C.S.Lewis puts it, men without chests. The
shovel, perhaps, pertains to the grave. The items speak of mankind's end,
a pervasive doom, echoing Howard's End by Forster. The hopelessness of the
human condition leads to despair.
3. Years later they would say that they also found a landscape painted
on driftwood, a finely crafted home made flute and a dagger.
The subjective nature of memory results in the most unbelievable mythologies.
This sentence here foreshadows the story's theme: "What is Truth?".
The event, seemingly insignificant, becomes elevated in importance by its
re-telling over time. Time creates its own realities, often at the expense
of truth, though equally powerful because the myths serve to enhance the
underlying truths which may or may not appear on the surface of an event,
hence the hyper-importance of these symbols. As for the author, his life
is both revealed and concealed in these images.
It is noteworth how these three additional items point clearly to the attributes
of the true Godhead, in contradistinction from the false. The painted landscape
points to the Creator. Not only is it a painting of a landscape (God's creation)
it also is painted on a piece of driftwood, also part of a the created order.
The flute speaks of the music of the spheres. Music is the soul of the universe.
The dagger is a reference to the coming of Christ who rode a white horse
and out of his mouth came a two edged sword, itself a symbol of Word of
God. Some writers have sought to identify the dagger with an occult meaning,
lifted from the tarot. Derrick Henson, in his excellent study of Newman's
symbolic works demonstrates Newman's commitment to Biblical, not extra-Biblical
symbols. William McIntosh criticizes Henson for neglecting the obvious caballistic
references in The Nonsense Room.
4. In the estuary of the river Somme, two British commandos were discovered
in the late afternoon.
The two spies are a reference to the spies that were sent into Canaan during
Israel's exodus under Moses. Ten of the spies were bad, two were men of
faith. Two also speaks of the two witnesses in the Book of Revelations.
As it was written by Moses, "By the mouth of two witnesses shall everything
The river is a symbol of the river of life. The commandoes had to be discovered,
they did not show themselves plainly. Likewise truth does not lend itself
to easy discovery. It lies concealed, but those who seek may find.
5. "They came ashore in a rubber dinghy," General Jodl, chief
of Wehrmach operations, tells Hitler. "They claim to know nothing."
The rubber dinghy speaks of overcoming. Throughout the Scriptures bodies
of water are a symbol of evil. Jesus walked on water, symbolizing His conquest
of the forces of evil, just as his stilling the storm demonstrated his power
over the forces of Nature. The spies' arrival via rubber raft shows us that
they were overcomers like their Master. True followers of God are to become
like God. We must first be overcomers if we are to be true witnesses. Of
their attitude of silence: Jesus said "Do not cast your pearls before
swine." Those who know the truth are not always instructed to share
all they know. Like their Master, who went as a sheep to be slaughtered,
mute, in resignation to the divine plan, the spies likewise say nothing.
General Jodl is clearly a type of Pilate, the representational head of a
foreign power before whom the spies stand under judgment.
6. The scene changes to a French restaurant once frequented by Napoleon.
Restaurants speak of eating and hint of mystic truths. We know that what
we eat we are. This was a French restaurant. French cuisine is a symbol
of heaven on earth, just as British food would be a symbol of hell. Napoleon
is a symbol of culture and power. Of Napoleon, Hudson wrote, "His powers
were his own, but circumstances rendered them effective." As it turns
out the same could be said of the story's hero soon to be introduced.
7. The restaurant serves excellent Italian fare.
At first it would appear we have received mixed messages, noting the Italian
restaurant in France. However, the Napoleanic roots of French culture and
the expansive nature of Napoleanic conquest speak of the influence of humanism
and efforts to achieve god consciousness apart from God. The great Italian
writer Dante illustrates this principle in his Inferno where he shows us
the highest plateau in hell is rationality. Human effort will always come
short in its attempts to escape the human condition and achieve the divine.
8. Three nights have passed.
The sign of Jonah which Jesus spoke of. It is a time of rendered helplessness.
Jonah spent three nights in the belly of a whale; Jesus three days in Hades,
the belly of the earth. If God does not intercede or deliver, all is lost.
Three is likewise the number of Divinity. Every action is part of God's
plan. Is there a word written here that is not Providential?
9. A stout German woman makes pasta in the kitchen.
Pasta speaks of the bread of life. The German woman is real, full bodied,
actively participating in the sacraments. In this context it is apparent
that the woman is going through the motions of religion without understanding
the meaning of faith. She is German, which suggests the Reformation, which
had its roots in Germany. The author may be suggesting that a dead or wooden
faith has taken the place of authentic faith here in the midst of the civilized
10. Two French chefs argue about how to make croissants.
In contrast to the two spies, these two witnesses demonstrate the difference
between togetherness and unity or harmony. Tie two cats' tails together
throw them over a clothes line. You have togtherness, but not unity. The
two chefs are witnesses that the world's ways can never bring peace or satisfaction.
11. They are smoking cigarets and sipping wine.
Smoking is a symbol of foul spirits polluting the Word of God. Breath is
essential not only to life, but for speaking. Without breath, the mouth
forms words but makes no sound. Breathing is essential to the transmission
of the spoken Word. Cigarets are a symbol that the Word of God has been
corrupted. The chefs are defiled both inside and out.
12. They know that Hitler is a madman, but it does not affect their cooking.
Clearly they acknowledge the power of the devil, that in fact they are under
his power, yet they go on as if it does not matter. They are conscious of
the pettiness of their lives, fully aware of the futility of their personal
conflicts, but how recapture man's lost nobility? On the surface they show
no visible sign of being affected by the rule of darkness, however what's
really going on within? What are the deep things of the heart that they
13. This story is about the taller chef, thinnest of the two, who is
also a writer.
There are three characteristics which differentiate the chefs from one another.
The main character, who is both taller and thinner, is also a writer. He
is more than just another human being. He is a scribe. Writers, when they
have passed on, leave a record of themselves. The Holy Book itself was produced
by men who served as conduits of divine inspiration, whose written words
radiate light for our feet, a lamp for our paths. His height is a symbol
of his importance. He is not like other men. As a writer he is a man with
a fire burning in his breast, an inner flame that will not let him rest
until it finds the purpose for which it has been ignited. In this instance,
as we shall soon discover, that purpose is to pen a poem about truth.
14. At night he composes poetry in the same way that a garden produces
flowers. The effect is dazzling.
Even in the midst of the darkness, in this fallen, broken world, his pen
is an instrument of light. Where this power comes from he knows not. Why
he has been chosen to bear this gift, he cannot comprehend. He conceives,
and is simultaneously audience to the miracle of conception.
Here we begin to understand that this chef, a poet, is not like other men.
He strives for something higher than his station. The poet's passion is
to touch the Invisible, in the highest sense of the word. Pablo Neruda equates
poetry with a deep inner calling of the heart out of which comes the liturgy,
the psalms and the content of religion. The true poet aspires for this with
every line and verse.
The reference to flowers appears infrequently in Newman's work, hence it
is of special significance that he uses it here. It is undoubtedly another
reference to mysticism and mystic truths. In his youth he was strongly moved
by the writings of Jacob Boehme and his teachings of the Super-Sensual Life,
which is the life above the senses, the transcendant life of the Spirit
and the hidden mystical wisdom of God. The fragrance of God is most evident
in those who cease from their own strivings and become as flowers.
15. His mother also was a poet, as was his grandfather.
Here we begin to understand the personal and autobiographical nature of
this story which Newman, in an interview with Anderson Powell, numbered
amongst his favorite works. Revealing his roots in poetry, he simultaneously
conceals, for we know now that it was his grandmother (as opposed to the
gradfather cited here) who was the poet, as was his great uncle John Hall
(the blind poet of Ricthie County). Further back in his lineage we find
Robert Burns and Hamilton McCauley.
The sentence simultaneously points to the heritage of faith, which is passed
from generation to generation. (see, for example II Timothy 1:5)
16. He does not believe in war or death.
The meaning of this line is obscure. It may mean the chef is living in denial
of the realities of the Fall, or it may mean he has chosen to acknowledge
war and death as ultimate values. Certainly the statement indicates that
he has chosen, or adopted, an alternate way of seeing. The sentence serves
as a reminder that many facets of this story are a Chinese box with hidden
compartments that do not easily yield at the first interaction.
17. He is restless, anxious about love, and lives alone.
The isolation of his circumstances speaks of man's existential situation.
18. If he had a lover, he knows that he would write less poetry, since
he writes only to fill his piteous empty hours.
Clearly he is a realist. He has stared into the depths of his own well for
a very long time. He sees who he is and understands his emptiness. These
lines set up the chef's motivation for the absurd leap of faith which he
is about to undertake.
19. When he reads his poems, he cries, then burns them. He is brutally
honest with himself.
Again, Newman underscores the deep self-understanding of his character.
The hero, who thus far has no name, could be anyman. True self-assessment
is one of life's greatest difficulties. It is natural to prefer illusions.
The chef's brutal honesty is painful for him. This voluntary taking up of
the cross is an essential step to personal growth. We are not commended
for actions which are out of our control. Choices define character, the
foundation being candid self-assessment.
Some writers have suggested that the chef is crying because his poetry is
so bad, that his honesty with himself has to do with his lack of talent.
On the symbolist level, the poetry he is writing could be his life. His
life is a poem, and perhaps it is possible that his bitter tears pertain
to his recognition of falling short of the mark somehow. Implicit in this
line of reasoning is the notion of idealist youth. Humans tend to separate
the real self and the ideal self. The chef / poet is conscious of this internal
division and despairs.
I disagree, however, with this line of reasoning. The poetry may be symbolic
on one level, but as is clearly seen, there is a poem soon to be written
and this suggests that the poetry he weeps over is real poetry (words on
paper) and not merely symbolic. There is a possibility that his poetry is
so explicit, so well written that it is difficult for him to accept what
it reveals about himself. In a journal note from October 1990, Newman wrote,
"Poetry is a means by which we capture and identify the feelings expressed
in the music of our souls." From the reaction of the hero, the music
is more akin to Barber's Adagio op. 11 than to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.
Much like the statement "Jesus wept", (the shortest verse in the
Bible) there may be many interpretations of what the weeping was really
all about. In the end it would be presumptuous to make a definitive statement.
21. The following evening he overhears a Nazi under-lieutenant commenting
on Britain's secret operations.
Fortune is often directly related to the chance orchestration of events
by a divine hand. The hero overhears a conversation that was not intended
for his ears, yet his ear was open to hear it. It is a watershed event,
not only in the course of human history but also in the hero's personal
It is good for the righteous to realize that their actions are not unnoticed.
The landing of the two spies has created quite a stir, even here in Paris
quite far from the shores where they first set foot on the Continent. This
sentence hearkens back to Canaan during the time of Joshua. The Canaanites
were in much terror, talking amongst themselves about the approach of the
Israelites. In the hierarchy of the powers of darkness, the under-lieutenant
is a reference to demonic powers, though it may be a throw away reference
to the Rolling Stones' "Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man",
the B-side of their hit "Satisfaction" in 1965. It is not uncommon
for the author to use humor to break the story's mounting tension.
22. He seizes the opportunity to become part of an adventure.
Disraeli, Earl of Baconsfield, wrote,"The secret of success in life
is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes." Lincoln,
too, maintained the same attitude: "I will study and get ready and
the opportunity will come." The hero acts. He is not passive. The passion
for adventure is juxtaposed against the longing for stability. Here, the
chef / poet / hero is aggressive in defining his fate. His fate is not something
that happens to him. He recognizes that his time has come and chooses decisively.
He sees and comprehends.
23. He never again sees his home.
A man who needs nothing can afford to risk everything. When the decisive
moment arrives the poet has reached the peak of his powers. His time is
Throughout the Scriptures we see this moment of truth. Abraham, at a moment
in time, must leave the land of his birth to live he knew not where. Moses
leaves the security he has found in the backside of the desert to return
to Egypt and lead his people, reluctantly, to freedom. The Lord Jesus, at
a moment in time, lays down his carpenter tools to begin His ministry, and
later lays down his ministry and ultimately his life for yet higher purposes.
24. Later that night the chef is captured in a forbidden zone near the
Seine whereupon he fakes an English accent and says he is a spy.
The French chef has so identified himself with the British invasion forces
that he adopts the language and mannerisms of a Brit. He claims he is a
spy, which is to say he is a witness for truth.
25. He is blindfolded and driven to a chateau where he must stand before
Blindfolding symbolizes the testing of one's faith. We previously noted
that the hero saw clearly the path set before him and made a decisive choice.
A short while after his sight is taken away. So it is in the pursuit of
God that we must undergo challenges to our faith. It is easy to believe
in God when all the feelings are there, when all is well, when our whole
being is sated with His presence. But take that presence away and what remains?
The power of faith is most visible in those who believe when they have no
vision, feel no feeling, have even perhaps lost their understanding. As
Job declared, having lost all, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust
After losing his sight the chef is driven to a chateau. In this total yieldedness
to forces beyond his control he follows the footsteps of his Master. He
does not resist.
The chateau speaks of the mind. In dream theory, the rooms of a house pertain
to the various facets of personality. The chateau symbolizes the poet /
hero who is carried away from his literal home to the internal home that
houses his thoughts, his soul, his being. The chateau, a castle-like stronghold,
is the stage where he must fight his last battle. To obtain the purity that
enables us to enter the temple of God one must overcome the world, the flesh
and the devil.
26. He makes up a story about a wife and daughter in Britain.
He is a storyteller, another symbol of his longing for divine power. In
creating fictions the storyteller begins with a blank page that offers an
infinity of possibilities. He could have said a wife and a son or two daughters,
or three sons. He could have lived with his mother. Or his wife could have
been killed in a bombing raid and he had to provide for an invalid father.
He could have said any of these or none of them. The story he makes up has
27. The details are vivid, but Rommel loses interest and orders him to
Detail is the lifeblood of fiction. Even so, it is a purposeless fiction.
Meaninglessness must be put to death. We are each here for a purpose, not
simply to fill time. The moment Rommel speaks, he knows his life is over.
28. He is overcome by a feeling of ubiquitous doom.
Through this experience he comes face to face with the full meaning of his
life, his emptiness and futility. His response is to utilize the gift he
has been developing in private all these years.
29. By morning he has written a poem about the event and leaves it in
He writes a poem, not a letter. The cell is a reference to our imprisonment
in the human condition. We are imprisoned, held captive, in prisons of our
own making. The word "leaves" refers to the tree of life, into
which the poem is about to transform itself, just as a leaf transforms sunlight
into nourishment through the process of photosynthesis.
30. The German officer who reads it laughs at the insipid rhymes and
The end result of this event appears at first to be utterly futile. The
harsh and indelicate judgments of this world seem to indicate it was a waste.
The poem is mocked. Has the hero's life been lived in vain?
31. He shares it with his friend who notices that the word "mayhap"
is misapplied and that "appenage" would have been a better choice
of words than "freehold."
The poem begins to attract attention. Other eyes see it, interact with it.
The friend who suggests wording changes represents the critics - literary
critics, art critics, and all the rest of this worlds critics. It is easy
to sit on the sidelines and criticize, as this man does here, but could
this friend write even half a poem? The hero has stepped up to life and
expressed himself in a creative act. Only one who dares to act can fulfill
Is there a hidden meaning in the words mayhap, appenage or freehold? Perhaps.
32. By week's end a hundred eyes have beheld the poem. Many jokes are
made of it.
The symbolic number one hundred (ten times ten) stands for the body of humanity,
ten representing the ten fingers of our hands. The verdict of mankind is
that it is a bad poem. This does not mean that it is a bad poem in actuality,
for we are not to judge earthly things from an earthly point of view. Value
is established not by critical acclaim or earthly fame, nor by awards, prizes,
laurels and degrees. Human activity has but one measure. What is God's view?
Does this act further the purposes of God? How do we stand up to God's measure?
33. Heinrich (we do not know his last name), a company agent from Stuttgart,
makes a copy of the poem, then translates it into German.
This is the beginning. Here is another unsung hero whose name is forgotten.
The light of truth enters the world through human agency, and is spread
through conduits unheralded and often forgotten. Heinrich is a company agent.
In the army the primary function of a company agent is to act as a messenger.
As a messenger Heinrich symbolizes the evangelists and missionaries who
carry the Word out into the world. Note that he makes a copy of it, enabling
him to familiarize himself with it, and then translates it into the language
of his people. So it was that a primary motivation of the the Reformers
(Wycliffe, Luther, etc.) was to translate the Holy Bible into the language
of common people and to teach them to read.
Heinrich, which means "ruler of the house" may also be a reference
to Henry VIII, who founded the Church of England, breaking away from Roman
Catholic authority in the 1500s. In short, Heinrich represents reform, or
liberation from the darkness. (There is no need here to expound on the meaning
of the Reformation, even if it was a bit sullied by King Henry's questionable
34. In the translation he improves the meter and resolves the problematic
To wit, he makes his own contribution, adding power to the original as he
passes it on. Such is the power of the Word of God, that we not only bear
it, we also become transformed by it and it by us as we carry it along.
In the end, the poem gains power as it is shared.
35. He sends it to his mother who does not understand it, but keeps it
in a small wooden box on the bureau next to a framed photo of the Fuhrer.
Many times our messages of truth cannot be immediately received by others.
Here we see that Heinrich sends the poem to his mother. He does not recite
it to her, but fires it like a missile into her presence. The framed photo
of Hitler tells the reader that she is still completely under the influence
of the powers of darkness. Nevertheless, she receives the poem and does
not reject it. In fact, she places it in a small wooden box, which is to
say, she wants it to be as near the power of evil as possible, yet invisible
to it. She has not yet rejected the devil herself, but she hides the Word
of Truth in her heart, and has begun to be influenced by it.
36. It is possible the original poem is still in existence somewhere, but
no one knows for certain.
To understand this sentence we must understand the Newman concept of
Biblical authority. What is implied here is that even though no one knows
where the original poem is, no one doubts that a poem was written. In the
same way, even though the oldest manuscript of Plato's writings is more
than 900 years after his passing, no scholar of serious merit would deny
the existence of Plato.
It is noteworthy that even though there are no original manuscripts from
the Gospels or the letters of the apostles, there are thousands of early
manuscripts that demonstrate that such original documents existed. It is
an appeal to rational minds, though ultimately it is an appeal to faith.
37. My cousin, who married a German woman, says that his father-in-law saw
the poem, the original version, and remembers that it was called Truth Is
A Fire That Burns.
The confrontation of opposing or contrary weather fronts breeds electrical
turbulence and intense storms. The reference to a cousin sustains the implicit
recognition that understanding is a matter of the heart and not simply the
mind. The marriage of soul and wit, of rationality and faith is stridently
called for. Faith does not mean throwing your brain out the window. Nor
can meaningful life be derived from rationality alone. In the marriage of
these seeming opposites illumination comes. The cousin referred to here
is either a fiction or a subterfuge. None of the author's cousins married
Germans, though he himself did indeed marry a very German girl. It may be
that the reference to the cousin, then, is autobiographical, in which case
the meaning of the sentence is clear. The author is proclaiming, "I
have seen the truth and it is a fire that burns."
It is obvious (the title of this poem is a paraphrase of his well-known
and much heralded poem "Magic Fire") that Newman's work is one
vast enterprise containing related treatments of the same subject: himself.
Some dream theorists have proposed that all dream content, including the
varied characters in one's dreams, are facets of the dreamer and the dreamer's
personality. In the same way, this author has projected himself into all
of his works in much the same way that the Court Poet Insepticus made himself
the object of his own great poem in Duel of the Poets. In a private journal
note Newman has indicated that his aim was to completely reveal himself,
to perfectly reproduce himself in his work, which would result in his disappearance,
because the universe will not allow two identical things to co-exist. The
result would be his own negation or disappearance, leaving a void that would
enable mankind to more clearly see God, unobstructed by the man. While our
natural tendency is to draw attention to ourselves, the man who has seen
God has a higher aim: to obliterate oneself.
38. We do not know if this was the same poem, or if he saw the poem at all.
The contradictions in these sentences, which are not unusual in Newman's
writings, serve to underscore the difficulties confronting the reader. The
final synthesis of its component parts is achieved through painstaking compression.
Unbundling the layers of meaning yields riches, but the task may be too
daunting for the average reader who is not interested in symbolist experimentation.
In the television age, if the symbols do not lie exposed on the surface
they are swiftly passed over and forgotten.
39. After the war many German soldiers say they saw the poem, and many more
say they made copies of it to send to the Fatherland.
There are seven levels of power. The lowest is powerlessness. The next
level is power through association, demonstrated here by those who associate
themselves with the poem and its influence. Whether the poem is true or
not is of no consequence. Weak and helpless people are vulnerable to manipulation,
coerced to join groups or causes or movements of all kinds. Here, there
is a tacit recognition of the significance of this poem, and those who claim
to have seen it are revered. Those who say they made copies of it are declaring
that they have played an important role in the furtherance of the Gospel.
It matters deeply to these people, though it is equally a sign of their
weakness that they make so much of it. What matters is not what we did in
years gone by, but rather what we are today and what we are doing now.
40. We know that most of them are lying.
This is lifted directly from Borges, the master of dissimulation. There
are not just two sides to every story but close to a thousand, and odds
are that not one is completely trustworthy.
41. Over the years versions have appeared in journals, some superior
to others, all of them improvements on the original.
>See comment on verse 34.
42. I have seen it thrice in English literary journals -- once, I believe,
in the Antioch Review, though it may have been one of the other college
publications that begin with the letter A.
A second tribute to Borges, whom Newman first encountered in the Antioch
Review Fall/Winter 1970-71. The letter A denotes Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter.
The innocence of childhood is also contained in this reference (A is for
Apple) and thus we understand the conflict between innocence, innocence
lost and the human condition. Antioch is where the followers of the way
were first called Christians, yet in Hawthorne's tale the church is taken
to task for having forgotten the highest mark of the faith: mercy.
The author claims to have seen it three times, the number three again denoting
the all-pervasive triune Godhead, that "perfect poem" in which
all of us live and move and have our being.
43. Someone told me that it has been translated into 87 languages.
A successful poem transcends the particulars and captures universal truths.
The power of the Gospel is in part due to the reality that its echo is contained
within the breast of every human soul. Eight is the number of transcendence,
seven the number of perfection. The number 87 is indicative of transcendent
44. In Thailand, the mountain peoples now say that it is the Word of
Paul: He chooses the weak to shame the strong, the foolish to confound the
wise. Strangely enough, the poem which had originally been mocked is here
recognized for what it is: the Word of God.
Has the poem undergone a transfiguration? Or had it simply gone unrecognized
for what it really was, the divine Logos.
Mountain peoples refers to the saints which gather on the mountain of God.
To live in the high places is to dwell in the Spirit.
45. No one remembers the French chef who gave his life to produce the
poem. His unknown name has been swallowed up by time, but his poem lives
on in human hearts.
The hero has returned to dust, but his spirit continues to live.
No: speaks of negation.
The numeral "one" points toward heaven. There is one god and one
mediator between God and man, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Remembers: Remember who you are.
The French Chef: the author, who is a type of us all.
who gave his life: except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die,
it abides alone, but if it die....it bears much fruit.
And so we end where we began. Life, death, resurrection. The conclusion
is a point, a period, a spot in the crosshairs of history, the X and Y axis
focusing on the one essential truth that simultaneously unifies time and
strengthens the story's inner harmonies. As we humble our selves and become
teachable, we make comprehension in the mind's eye more complete.
To a certain degree all life is mystery. Yet mysteries long for discovery.
To be indifferent to truth, in whatever form it dresses itself, is to become
less than human. As the proverb declares, "The complacency of fools
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