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

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Comment 33 of 293, added on April 13th, 2005 at 9:47 PM.

cummings typed his poetry on a typewriter. Manual typewriters and electric
typewriters were designed so that the lowercase letter "l" and the number
"1" were identical. Typing classes instructed students to hit the
lowercase "l" key to type the number one in order to save time.

Take the poem. Type it using a Courier font. cummings was most definitely
making use of the double meaning conveyed by a single character.

met from United States
Comment 32 of 293, added on March 28th, 2005 at 10:25 AM.

This poem is very lovely and I can someone feel the quite sigularity that
is the leaf in the poem.
There is some emphasis on the characters and breaking up of the lines in
the poem.





The l's definitely do look like ones. and "iness" I would guess to mean the
state of being yourself, the word one in "loneliness", "le" of "leaf" I
often think of being french (in which Cummings does indeed use in some
poems) for "the" an article denoting singularity and so on, and the
separated a and f pairs in the "leaf falls". What I can't understand is why
he had the two l's paired together in "falls" if all this holds true?

I guess that I'm looking to deep for something that isn't there.

Samwise Gamgee from Botswana
Comment 31 of 293, added on March 19th, 2005 at 4:10 AM.

I have heard it argued that this particular poem is not art. I disagree

Of course, it is most often read l(a leaf falls)oneliness, or "a leaf falls
inside of / in loneliness."

But that cannot encapsulate the full meaning of the poem. The line breaks
themselves are infinitely important.

"l(a" As has been suggested, that first "l" could be a 1. In that case, it
would be 1(a, kind of like the first quesiton on a test. Perhaps this
suggests a beginning--enhanced by the presence of the open parenthesis...A
suggestion that even in a singular moment of time, all is not static.

ll" Here I'm going to interrupt again. The possibility of the first "l"
being a "1" has been suggested, but what if all of the "l"s were "1"s?
This would be two ones together. Again, even loneliness is not

one" I'm surprised that this has not been mentioned before! There's a real
"one" in the middle of the poem!

"l" Here's the old "l" / "1" thing again.

"iness" iness. I-ness. The state of being I, being one, being alone. A
wholeness that is inherently lonely.

Some general comments: In the moment that a leaf falls, it is completely
alone. It leaves the safety of the tree above and eventually is embraced
by the warm earth--but in the moment in between, it is suspended in the
air, falling eternally. Yet even that utter loneliness does not last

The simplicity of the poem is another thing that attracts me to it. It is
truly the pinnacle of minimalism. Yet, through brilliant mastery, cummings
managest to evoke as strong an image as other poets have with thousands of

I first read this poem about a year and a half ago, and it has influenced
me more than The Odyssey ever did.

But, back to the minimalism, a leaf falling really is a single moment in
time. I kind of like that suggestions of cummings' interpretations are
little more than suggestions. We know he found something about the moment
to be lonely, but anything more than that is left to the reader--either a
great puzzle or a starting point for a wonderful brainstorm.

And to think that I first thought he had fallen asleep on his typewriter
or something of the sort...

Elizabeth from United States
Comment 30 of 293, added on March 13th, 2005 at 4:26 PM.

It is a quiet simple statement of what is and what cannot be changed. Alone
and without...though there is a subtle suggestion that the alone-ness is
not alone because there are others who are experiencing the same...or are
Frank from Singapore touched upon this lightly.
I also like Jordan's idea of "peaceful origin".

Basai from United States
Comment 29 of 293, added on February 22nd, 2005 at 3:04 PM.

Why is ee cummings a poet? This poem digs deep into the poe revealing whats
inside. I like this 10/10.

Donnie from United States
Comment 28 of 293, added on February 17th, 2005 at 10:55 AM.

15 bucks, little man...put that shit, in my hand if that $ doesnt show,
then you'll owe me owe me OH!!!!

Brandon from United States
Comment 27 of 293, added on February 16th, 2005 at 12:06 PM.

did anyone ever think that the poem could be put together a different way,
instead of just the word loneliness, mabey theres other words that could be
put together, you never know?

Boo from United States
Comment 26 of 293, added on February 15th, 2005 at 7:52 AM.

when the leaf falls it becomes disunited. It seperates and falls. It is no
longer connected with everything else and on its own. However that is not
the end of the story. Its unique end is something to behold and appreciate.
We can see its graceful fall to the ground. The fact of its end is as
beautiful to behold as its origins were. That is why it is not merely a
poem but a concrete poem. A picture to take home and not just an idea to
ponder. l(a leaf falls)oneliness

Each fall of each leaf is unique and whole and complete and tells the whole
story. It is wholeness. It is completeness. It is being the whole universe.
Which all beings share each in its own unique way.

isa from Jordan
Comment 25 of 293, added on February 12th, 2005 at 11:42 AM.

Well I personally think that here e.e. cummings is just stateing plain as
day, that no leaf falls with another leaf.. they all fall alone. If you
think about this it is very true because in life when your at the pits of
life you feel like you are alone and that you got their alone. Thereby
"falling" alone... sometimes poets don't have any hidden meanings or
anything, its just stated right there. For example: some of you are trying
to explain the poems struture, but I think its just a vizual of a leaf
falling, nothing more.

~God bless~

nickky from United States
Comment 24 of 293, added on January 24th, 2005 at 6:25 AM.

One way of reading the poem would be to ask why 'a leaf falls' appears in
the middle of the word 'loneliness'. The effect of this is to draw out the
word, and thus prolong its duration when pronounced. Is the effect of this
to suggest the slowness of time to the lonely subject? Or does the poem
draw attention to a state of extreme isolation in which an event as
seemingly unimportant as a leaf falling is enough to disrupt the entire
structure of the poem? The disconcerting effect of this disruption for the
reader could be indicative of a general feeling of confusion in the poem.
With the inevitable connotation of death hanging over everything, it is
difficult to salvage any sense of positivity, value or worth in the text.
However, the gentleness of the single image we are given, and the slender
and willowy structure of the poem itself, forces a sense of ambivalence
upon us that is difficult to clarify. Presumably such effects are part of
Cummings' intention.

Robert Rowlands from United Kingdom

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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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