And Yet… And Yet…

In May 2008, Tim McCarthy completed a Masters of Fine Arts degree in English at Kent State University. His MFA thesis “And Yet… And Yet…” contains commentaries in the form of poems and prose on four major pieces of Zen Buddhist literature: the Genjo Koan, the Sei-ji Koan, the story of Hyakujo and the Fox, and the Heart Sutra. “And Yet… And Yet…” can be downloaded as a PDF (296 KB).

Below is a sample of Tim’s writing in “And Yet… And Yet…”
On the Title

Desert Tells the Prophet’s Foot

What Feet Tell Sand

(Genjo…)

Not all nails pierce Christ’s palms.

Thirst,
that bible of Being,
precedes them.

Existence,
hunger’s authentic scripture,
pierces palms at the end
of Mind only now
even now.

The Grammar of Law is Law

(…Koan)

Yes,
If the State is a Desert. (Sophocles 215)

 

(When all things are the Buddha Dharma, there is illusion and enlightenment, practice, birth, death, Buddhas, and sentient beings. When all things are without self, there is no illusion or enlightenment, no birth or death, no Buddhas or sentient beings. The Buddha Way is originally beyond any fullness and lack, and for that reason, there is birth and death, illusion and enlightenment, sentient beings and Buddhas. Yet  for all that, flowers fall amid our regret and yearning, and hated weeds grow apace.)

1) Birth and Death Sleepwalk into the Wild

Bare heart feet enter the forest.

Beneath them pulse-paths
hang like cypress. Cool shade
vibrates with each step
greeting next ground.

Above, antler arteries
crown a stately stag. He sips
foliage shadow shimmering
beneath subcutaneous sky.

Bare heart feet track pulse

through thicket bone and
stream-strewn organ fields
to where wild cats crouch
behind capillary bushes.

Throbbing sinew tracks, bow
under arm, head and back
bent to observe ground
where trace betrays prey.

Trodden beneath heart feet
farmed there dangerous
in the denial of use
blood footprints
cell-sand.

 

2) Farming Difference

Here is a heart full of forests
held with the wisdom
of cupped hands
carrying splintered glass. Above
and below pulse paths
in which fowl and fish
respond to sky and stream

as she hopes he will
respond her invitation
to an evening meal.

(He too is child of waves
unfurled from the tide that
left us here. He too
must eat.)

Perhaps, in her request
he will see footprints of bass
floating through streams
beneath finch-pierced light.

Perhaps fish, feet of water,
will walk rivers into that light
to footprint salt blood
overstepping the pulses
that propel them within
stone throw ripples.

And perhaps, in reverence
that night a Fall flower will
remove the hat from its heart
and watch a tide of multi colored
leaves quit anginic branches
like shards of glass falling
show front and back,
touch earth’s palm,
count one.

3) Kinds of When

Someone has forsaken
the outside and outside
a blossom takes notice.

Why, it wonders
as she closes the door
to its garden habitat, is that
called home instead of bud?

Inside she illumines
the bud nature of creation
whose destiny is to seed
and sprout devoid
of soil and sun,
inner or outer.

There, a forest of naked hearts
writes anticipating a firmament
fraught with fictitious fish
churning sky milk into
galaxy cheese.

4) Varieties of Alreadiness

Sky-clad forests emerge
from the envelope whose contents
ask for yes.

They sneeze foul into clear
and cumulus toward earth
enveloping sun-sky. They hold,
as if in cupped hands,
cool fish-feet rivers. There,
wild lives affirm water
and air as they do fins,
feathers, and fir,

as he does her invitation
to coconut soup and more.

(Perhaps as he kneels in reverence
he will remove the mind from his heart.)

Throughout paths pulse
in the knowledge that love
is the care with which
glass splinter brethren
are held in cupped hands,
and as never is a species
of always.
Splinters touch with love
the cupped hands in which
they are held and when bare
heart feet enter such forests
they enter
each other,
penetrate
themselves.