“QED” is the end of a mathematical proof: Quod erat demonstrandum. Loosely translated: “It is demonstrated.” More closely translated: “That which was to be demonstrated.” This poem begins with the first line: “It must be so.” This poem ends stating “it is so,” in a stanza titled: “QED.”
What has been shown or proven or demonstrated in this poem? Essentially, what has been shown is as stated in 2 Nephi 2:6-7:
6 Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.
This poem states or shows or proves (if not in murky fashion: ignotum per ignotius) that our experience is a combination of the physical and the spiritual, redeemed of the Messiah, offering the opportunity to grow in aspects of the divine – that without our sacrifices, and most particularly without the Great and Last sacrifice, our offerings are not acceptable. The Messiah is the Deliverer. The Messiah is the Redeemer. We are formed of God in a mould that offers limitless potential –
“Abscissa, / ordinate, or ordered pair – the chimaeric question / cumbrously resolved in deadwooding and abscission.”
“And beneath this turning find – in scarification of every kind – / the seeds and pulp and pith and rind….And some great thing will thenceforth yield / from this most curiously planted field.”
The Messiah is the linea abscissa, the before and the after, the Alpha and the Omega, the all.
If this stanza was to be summarized briefly, it would be like this: though it might not have been explained well, this hard world provides the experience to help each of us mechanically separate (as indehiscent fruit) our stony hearts and replace them with hearts of flesh in a renewing “sacred violence,” as described earlier. There is life and death and every kind of hardship in an ongoing cycle, but it is not without meaning and purpose. The glorious intent and end of this grand experiment will be manifest.
Some terms and their use/meaning in the stanza:
“Ignotum per ignotius” – This wonderful Latin phrase means the obscure by the obscure, or the unknown by the unknown. I think of it as the answer providing more questions than answers. Or the answer to the question being unhelpful. That’s this poem – and this annotation 🙂
“In scarification of every kind” – In this life, there is a wide range of human suffering and sorrow, as well as joy and peace. The universal experience of sorrow is described in the stanza “Drupelet.” These experiences are scarification of every kind:
“Scarification … involves weakening, opening, or otherwise altering the coat of a seed to encourage germination. Scarification is often done mechanically, thermally, and chemically. The seeds of many plant species are often impervious to water and gases, thus preventing or delaying germination. Any process designed to make the testa (seed coat) more permeable to water and gases (and thus more likely to germinate) is known as scarification.
Scarification, regardless of type, works by speeding up the natural processes which normally make seed coats permeable to water and air.” – wikipedia
Hopefully, we germinate. That is the “chimaeric question.”
“It is so. And it is so. And it is surely so.” – This is the QED responding to the first stanza’s “It must be so.” In this phrase are also echoes of “All shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be well” – a phrase C.S. Lewis quoted from Julian of Norwich.
Congratulations – you made it!
And to us all: iubilo!
Jump to any part of the annotation here (including directly to the stanza by stanza descriptions):
- The conceptual outline of the poem, generally
- The basic layout, in reference to the concept of the jubilee.
- The use of the word “selah”
- The sets of sevens
- A stanza by stanza review of some of what it all means
Links to the stanzas for their individual “behind the scenes”: