by e.e. cummings


It would be easy to dismiss this poem because we have to shift our method of gathering and interpreting information. Rather than streaming left to right, and relying on recognized collections of letters that become words by virtue of the space between them, we must be curious enough to find a pattern in the unfamiliar. There are two statements within its bounds. If we could envision the poem as framed art, the frame is


the expression is

a leaf falls

Among many other studies, this poem invokes inquiry thus

  • What is a journey alone?
  • What is a lone journey?
  • What is a journey in loneliness?
  • What is a lonely journey?
  • What is a leaf without journey?

I thank Steve Matuszak for bringing this poem to my attention. He used l(a as a touchstone to speak eloquently about the study of “self” in a Dharma Talk at Dharma Field Zen Center. Teasings on this poem can also be found at Poem a Day.

© 2015 Bev Forsman and Letters from Emptiness. If you share this material, please include direction to the original content. Thank you.

4 thoughts on “only-ness?

  1. Ed Fissinger says:

    Hi Bev… Would you please contact me by email? Thanks. I’ll enter the needed info below


  2. Gary Urquhart says:

    Hi Bev, I spent a week at Dharma Field at the end of May, and missed not seeing you and Don there. With both of you having supported the centre in the way you have over the years …it felt to me like there was something of a whole left behind with you not being there. If I’d had more time I would have gotten in touch to ask if you wanted to meet up, as it was I was pretty busy …you know how I like to keep my dance card full (as Linda S. put it!) when I visit Minneapolis. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know you were both missed. I’m sure whatever you are doing now is being carried out with the same compassion, wisdom and skill that was so often on display at Dharma Field. Your Letters from Emptiness are wonderful …they came so thick and fast I haven’t managed to read them all yet, however, they’re safely stored in a ‘LfromE’ sub-folder ready for when I’m ready for them. On your blog you mention your favourite time of day is ‘twilight, when the sun is just below the horizon’ …attached is a photo I took from the plane on my way home from this last trip. I like this one, I hope you do too. All best to you and yours, Gary


  3. Susan says:

    This reminds me of the process I went through when looking at the cow picture from Steve Hagen’s book several years ago. I couldn’t make it out or make sense of it because my usual way of seeing things put up a block. And yet, as you’ve noted with l(a, by being curious about what is unfamiliar, by exploring it without turning away, by remaining open, there’s so much to uncover.


Comments are closed.