Cummings' most delicately beautiful literary construct - From Loneliness to Oneliness

Today I started the day watching this beautiful video describing ee cumming's shortest poem. Loneliness, in essence, is but a fleeting departure from oneness. It's a poetic analogy: akin to the way a leaf descends, parting from its larger entity, the tree, only to merge with the earth – a greater whole. The solitude experienced by the leaf during its descent is merely a momentary pause in its intrinsic oneness.
ee cummings' shortest poem






—ee cummings

More on "l(a"

"l(a" is a remarkable and innovative poem written by E. E. Cummings, a celebrated American poet known for his unconventional and experimental approach to poetry. This poem serves as the opening piece in his 1958 collection titled "95 Poems." "l(a" is a prime example of Cummings' unique style and his ability to blend form and content in a way that captivates readers.

The most striking aspect of "l(a" is its visual structure. The poem is presented in a vertical format, with groups of one to five letters stacked one on top of the other. However, when the text is read horizontally, it unveils two different interpretations. The first reading reveals "l(a leaf falls)oneliness," where the word "loneliness" is interrupted by the insertion of the phrase "a leaf falls" between its initial letters "l" and "o." The second reading presents "l(a le af fa ll s) one l iness," with "one l iness" formed by the insertion of "le af fa ll s" between "a l" and "oneliness."

Cummings' biographer, Richard S. Kennedy, has aptly described "l(a" as "the most delicately beautiful literary construct that Cummings ever created." This poem showcases Cummings' mastery of language and his ability to convey profound ideas through minimalist and visually striking means.

The central theme of "l(a" revolves around loneliness, a topic that is symbolically represented by a single falling leaf. In the realm of literature and symbolism, a solitary falling leaf is often associated with solitude and isolation. Cummings cleverly employs the structural fragmentation of the poem's words to visually emphasize the theme of separation, which is the root cause of loneliness. The fragmented word "loneliness" itself becomes a potent symbol, as it highlights the presence of "one" within it, suggesting that even in isolation, there is an inherent oneness or unity.

The isolated letter "l" in the poem can initially be mistaken for the numeral one, creating the effect that the leaf remains one, or "oneliness," whole within itself, even after being detached from the tree. This play on words and visual elements adds depth and complexity to the poem's exploration of loneliness and individuality.

"l(a" is a prime example of Cummings' ability to merge form and content to convey profound emotions and ideas. It reminds readers of other works by Cummings that experiment with typography and structure, such as "i carry your heart with me(i carry it in," and "Buffalo Bill's defunct." These poems, like "l(a," challenge conventional notions of poetry and invite readers to explore the interplay between language and meaning in innovative ways.

From Isolation to Unity - Tuhi Tuhi

E. E. Cummings' poem "l(a" beautifully echoes the theme of seeking oneness through acceptance of separation, akin to profound meditation on "tuhi tuhi" or "you only." Both these poems invite readers to contemplate the journey from isolation to unity. Cummings' poem uses the falling leaf as a metaphor for loneliness and its eventual integration with a larger whole, illustrating the transient nature of solitude. Similarly, the meditation on "tuhi tuhi" emphasizes the singular focus on the Divine, where the seeker strives to dissolve their individual identity and merge completely with the divine essence, achieving a state of spiritual oneness. In both cases, these texts encourage individuals to embrace separation and isolation as steps towards a deeper, more profound connection with the larger, interconnected universe.

Kabir says, When one give up "I", one become you. The letting go is like the fall of the leaf.  This is how Kabir becomes one. Tu Tu Karta Tu Hua

Saying you you, I became you
Now everywhere I look, I see you

Our friends might leave us. Our families might leave us. But you stay!  Raghunath's support is unending. The leaf falls but finds support in the earth.  This is the support of being one. Tek Ek Raghunath.  The one support is Raghunath. The support of Raghunath is oneness. 

My associates and companions have all deserted me; no one remains with me.
Says Nanak, in this tragedy, the Lord alone is my Support. ||55||

The only loneliness in the world is separation from you. When Guru Gobind Singh is utterly isolated in the jungles of Machhiwara he sings not about the separation from his worldly family, not about losing all his worldly possessions, he writes an ode about missing "you", who he calls "the loving friend", mittar pyare nu