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Analysis and comments on 1(a... (a leaf falls on loneliness) by e.e. cummings

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Comment 61 of 281, added on February 5th, 2006 at 9:32 PM.

This poem is very intriguing, though it might be a bit confusing the first
time you read it, especially if you haven't seen a poem with such form
beforehand. I love how Cummings went outside the box in the sense of
conventional means of writing poetry. The structure of the poem is
fascinating and I love how he used the structure to amplify the effects. As
many have pointed it out already, the way he's written the poem actually
does correspond to the pattern of a falling leaf. Instead of just reading
the words in a straight line, Cummings has provided a visual means of
impact as well. As for the interpretation of the first character, I agree
that it can be both a number 1 and a letter l. The 1 symbolizes the one
leaf, and the l is the first letter of the word "loneliness".

Truly amazing poem in my books. :)

Vero from Canada
Comment 60 of 281, added on January 27th, 2006 at 10:17 AM.

Loneliness is momentarily interrupted by the falling of a leaf.

Marel from Argentina
Comment 59 of 281, added on January 25th, 2006 at 10:23 PM.

I read this poem last year in American Literature class and I love it. I
love how the word "loneliness" is broken up.. and I remember noticing the
"ONE" by itself and it really makes the whole mood more apparent. I never
knew that one bit about the "1" and "l" and how it's meant to be both.

Comment 58 of 281, added on January 3rd, 2006 at 12:33 PM.

it is a pretty lonely feeling to imagine one leaf falling from a tree

liz from United States
Comment 57 of 281, added on December 23rd, 2005 at 4:44 PM.

I think the poem was made with the idea of iconicity; the verbal unit
represents itself which it means: the letters fall vertically on
loneliness, like the leaves do.

Pablo from Argentina
Comment 56 of 281, added on December 15th, 2005 at 12:42 PM.

agnes, your teacher was probably just hitting on you.

Comment 55 of 281, added on December 7th, 2005 at 11:45 AM.

To the first poster in this comments section: one reason you may have
difficulty understanding the poem is that the title it was given on this
site is incorrect. His poetry is generally untitled (as was this work) so
they usually go by the first lines of the poem when you refer to them. In
that case, the title would be 1(a or l(a. A second (horrible) mistake is
that whoever typed the title out as a single line actually made the mistake
of adding an extra "on" where the letters "on" don't exist in the lines of
the poem. it's not "on" loneliness, it's "l (a leaf falls) oneliness" or,
changing the letters a bit, "(a leaf falls) loneliness"


Comment 54 of 281, added on November 23rd, 2005 at 8:19 PM.

this is the kind of poem I feel like I need special knowledge to
understand. It is like some modern art: if you don't have any context or
understanding of what the writer/artist is thinking and doing, you are
left scratching your head. Sometimes I can feel this way looking at a
canvas that is painted all white. It is a very educated man being daring
and stepping outside of what he knows and has learned. This is a subversive
statement against the whole notion of what poetry is? Is Cummings
re-shaping poetry? the meaning is ambiguous. A leaf cannot fall on
loneliness. cummings is trying to make our brains explode.

amy from United States
Comment 53 of 281, added on November 18th, 2005 at 2:32 PM.

one of my teachers gave me another interpretation to this poem. she saw it
as sexual...I explain:

cummings spoke and wrote French, so we can see l(a and le as "la" and "le",
the feminine and masculine "the". so, la and le are making af and fa ( I
let you imagine...), and in this, they are two (ll).after, comes the plural
mark "s".
at this moment, there can be 2 interpretations: first, love unites them and
they become one, repeated by l, or, it did not happen so well, and they are
separated and become lonely again with one and l ( each one by his side).
finally, iness could be read as I-ness, the notion of the self, and sex
would become a way to express yourself, as transcendence...
this is an interresting point of view, but I wonder what the teacher had in
by the way! as there only english speaker here...what does e.i or i.e mean?
please, that bothers me!
I hope you understand what I said, english is not my motherly tongue...bye!

Agnès from France
Comment 52 of 281, added on November 15th, 2005 at 6:46 PM.

this was the first Cummings poem i ever read, and i think it is beautiful.

it was explained to me as a leaf falling from a tree of soldiers, and the
words "leaf" and "falls" are broken up to symbolize the flipping motion of
the leaf. and the word "loneliness" is broken up because it is so lonely
that it doesn't even feel like one word. also, the number 1 at the
beginning, represents the futility of just one soldier.

Stephanie from United States

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Information about 1(a... (a leaf falls on loneliness)

Poet: e.e. cummings
Poem: 1(a... (a leaf falls on loneliness)
Added: Feb 20 2003
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