Audaces fortuna juvat

Working towards my dream

A Leaf Falls in Loneliness

Posted by C Moon on October 23, 2007

I read this poem by E. E. Cummings first time in May of 2007. However, still, I could not figure out the actual title of the poem, thus decided to call it “A Leaf Falls in Loneliness” for now, based on my interpretation of the poem.

(The poem can be found at the very bottom of this posting.)

When I first read this poem, without any knowledge of Cummings, I was really lost. It took me about 30 minutes (possibly more?) to reach the conclusion. Maybe you can also try to deduce the meaning of the poem. My logic went like the following.

“Hmm.. so the clues are ‘1,’ ‘a leaf,’ ‘oneliness.’ Maybe talking about being alone? Well, before that, is there such a word like ‘oneliness’?”

The first guess was too simple, thus a BEEP-!!

“Okay, so the poem talks about the leaf falling, but does not describe the surrounding at all. Thus, maybe, the isolation of the leaf?”

Well, a little bit closer to the meaning than the first guess, I presume.

“Alright. Basically, the poem describes the leaf, but not the surrounding. Would it be fair to presume the surrounding static? Then, the leaf may be the only thing that may grab the attention of the persona, and may be the object that unites the whole scene?”

This time, I was going too far into my own guesses and imagination. The person who showed me the poem smiled, and then asked me to look at the poem itself. How it looks like, aesthetically? She told me that it might be helpful to know that E. E. Cummings used poems as visual presentation of his thoughts. He was an artist and poet.

I played around with the poem a little bit more, elided the parentheses for a moment, and could see 1oneliness, i.e., loneliness. The embedded portion of the poem, of which I omitted for the moment, could possibly make sense. To describe the poem’s imagery, it is “a leaf falls (in, or inside) loneliness.” When I reached the end of my short journey, I felt the silent loneliness.

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– e. e. cummings

1(a

le

af

fa

ll

s)

one

l

iness

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Photo Credits: “Fall Leaves In the Spring” by Jigme Datse

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2 Responses to “A Leaf Falls in Loneliness”

  1. Clay Burell said

    Nice, nice ending. And a beautiful poem. I always saw the line breaks as visual representations of the path a leaf takes when falling, too. You know, not a straight line, but a sort of downward rocking motion.

    I love cummings.

  2. Catherine Moon said

    Thank you for the comment 🙂

    I love your attention to the path of a falling leaf. The image of a leaf falling down, in a “downward rocking motion,” seems to slow down the whole poem, and eventually make the scene more lonely.

    Digging up cummings’ poems, I noticed that most of his poems were atypically designed. Currently, I am planning to read and write about more of his work soon. I think I fell in love with cummings and his style, though I may not be able to follow his style 🙂

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