Two poems from Leza Lowitz’s “Yoga Heart”

Two poems from Yoga Heart: Lines on the Six Perfections, by Leza Lowitz.

Leza Lowitz
11 August 2011

In our September 2011 issue’s Books in Brief, Andrea Miller included what she says are “three new treasures for poetry lovers.” One of these is the new collection, Yoga Heart: Lines on the Six Perfections, by Leza Lowitz.

It’s nice to be able to share a treasure, so here are two poems — “On Modesty” and “Gravy” — from Yoga Heart.

On Modesty

He called himself the farmer of Katsushika,
and thirty other names, moving ninety-three times,
following the movement of seas, waterfalls, islands, the
His father was a mirror polisher for the Shogun.
He captured Mt. Fuji from every perspective,
his eye like a fox, like a camera.
He wanted to live to ninety, but after making thirty
thousand prints,
Hokusai died at eighty-nine, saying:
If heaven gives me even five more years, I shall
surely become a great artist.



When Ray Carver died
from a brain tumor caused by lung cancer —
having escaped death by alcohol a decade earlier —
his wife found a scrap of paper on his desk
near his typewriter.

Forgive me if I’m thrilled with the idea,
but just now I thought that every poem I write
ought to be called Happiness.

No heroics. No apologies.
Just every day. Happiness.
Near the end of his life he wrote:
It was gravy. All gravy.

Let yourself say:
“Every poem will be called happiness.”
“Every day will be devoted to helping others be happy.”

Poetry by Leza Lowitz, from her book Yoga Heart. Published here with permission of Stone Bridge Press.