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. It creates the effect that the leaf is still one, or "oneliness" whole within itself, even after it is isolated from the tree.  Robert Scott Root-Bernstein observes that the overall shape of the poem resembles a 1.