Stag

In the video named [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP6ayYZ-17s], named Un cerf s’invite dans une église, named (translated) Deer in a church, more properly named (translated) A deer calls in a church, a stag is observed. He found the narthex full of allspice. A brazier was left lit by an acolyte rapt in her reading of Paul. Slowly, slowly, up through the nave. The pews resemble dry runnels.

 

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Someone found a film machine and a pillar in the north transept. Not simply to view was enough. For a while, simply to view was enough: slowly, slowly, up through the nave, past the pews, careful steps beside the censer swinging—how—swinging, the stag, an atmosphere of question. In her hand the machine: it saw itself anachronistic, a little Narcissus, and weighed in her wet hand like a squared-off stone. But without mineral power! Anachronistic. Belonging to a proxy time, time-adjacent, but not This, The Life of the Deer Calling in Church, which cowed it. It set a passcode.

 

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The lectern and the pulpit had ponds in them. They returned to being ponds; in watching film of the stag, it’s easy to mistake Sanctity Transforming—the direction, where its channel flows. Watch. It is not the chancel gives the stag sanctity, not the chancel that is rarefied, that holds stillness in it. What can hold stillness that hasn’t bent a joint oblique? It is not the apse, peering shyly over the altar, returning, as it would, to its hillock life. Of course the source of Sanctity Transforming flows, in slow fluid red-orange wakes, ranging, filling the pews and songbooks with rich wet color, of course the stag makes it; the lectern has now a whole plant inside, & prokaryotes. O WHAT FANCY—yes, what fancy to think chancel could master a stag! What fancy to think eyes make a Providence.

 

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Our viewer is full of feeling too; the stag’s still/virulent vitality causes her to hesitate, to hide; when the stag moves its stillness in the chancel she is cowed. She may have mastered the film machine, willed it give its tiny operating code; but she too senses the Sanctity Transforming. “Strange, a stag walks in a church, puts snout to sanctuary,”—she’s thinking this. But what’s strange is Sanctity Transforming making choice to breach the church. She frames a deer calling in a church. It calls; the film machine fails; a relic becomes salamander, scuttling off its shelf. Gelid smokes lift the vault.

 

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I saw what happened next. A man-size sextet, contretemps; when the stag goes by, belvederes. There’s no record of that.

 
 

Joseph Spece.