l oneliness

1(a… (a leaf falls on loneliness)

E.E. Cummings

Description from Wiki:  “l(a" is a poem by E. E. Cummings… “l(a” is arranged vertically in groups of one to five letters. It goes like this:


When the text is laid out horizontally, it either reads as l(a leaf falls)oneliness —in other words, a leaf falls inserted between the first two letters of loneliness- or l(a le af fa ll s) one l iness, with a le af fa ll between a l and one…

… In analyzing the poem, 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. Robert Scott Root-Bernstein observes that the overall shape of the poem resembles a 1.

Further suggestions for interpretation (collected at an English language-class in Germany in the 1980s, 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”)”. (via: wiki