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POEM OF THE DAY -- "1(a... (a leaf falls on loneliness)" be E.E. Cummings

First comment: E.E. Cummings spells his own name with correct punctuation. Never one to comment on the evolutionary tendancy for his name to morph into ee cummings at the hands of others, I'm sure he found it funny -- and evolutionary as it is directly related to his perceived style of poetry. However we don't do that here; to me it takes away a little of the energy needed to read and (understand) his special poetry.

So, here is one of his most talked about poems. A poem in which the title is longer than the actual piece. A poem which features the destruction of construction and the intentional punctuational vandalism which makes me love the guy. A poem which nearly makes me come to tears - as I imagine myself staring into a canyon of loneliness soon.

Cummings' works are a delight. Also presented (below this poem) is the equally poignant first poem ever written by Cummings at the age of 3. Perfect.

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

By E. E. Cummings





My First Poem

By E.E. Cummings (age 3)

Oh little birdie

With your


  1. how does the poet use the form of the first poem above( a leaf falls on loneliness) to enhance his subject matter?

  2. how does the poet use the form of the first poem above( a leaf falls on loneliness) to enhance his subject matter?

    1. taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L(a

      "l(a" is a poem by E. E. Cummings. It is the first poem in his 1958 collection 95 Poems.[1]
      "l(a" is arranged vertically in groups of one to five letters. When the text is laid out horizontally, it reads as l(a leaf falls)oneliness —in other words, a leaf falls inserted between the first two letters of loneliness.[2]
      Robert DiYanni notes that the image of a single falling leaf is a common symbol for loneliness, and that this sense of loneliness is enhanced by the structure of the poem. He writes that the fragmentation of the words "illustrates visually the separation that is the primary cause of loneliness". The fragmentation of the word loneliness is especially significant, since it highlights the fact that that word contains the word one. In addition, the isolated letter l can initially appear to be the numeral one.[3] Robert Scott Root-Bernstein observes that the overall shape of the poem resembles a 1.[4]
      Further suggestions for interpretation (collected at an English language-class in Germany in the 1980ies, all underlining the “loneliness”) may be:
      The “a” in the first line (as indefinite article) represents singularity.
      The “le” in the second line is the French equivalent to “the” (again “singularity”).
      If the first letters of line 6 to 9 are read downward, they read “soli”, which in Latin means “only”.
      Cummings biographer Richard S. Kennedy calls the poem "the most delicately beautiful literary construct that Cummings ever created".[5]