That Vase of Lilacs & Blue China Doorknob
Poetry is a highly personal thing. Every once in a while, you find a poem that clicks, and the hairs stand up on the back of your neck; you get that strange feeling like someone’s just walked across your grave, like the poet “sat behind a million pair of eyes and told them how they saw” as David Bowie said about Bob Dylan. It’s exhilarating, that connection between two strangers. It can also be a little frightening.
The first time I read “That Vase of Lilacs,” I got a world-class case of the screaming heebie-jeebies. Kay Ryan frightens the heck out of me in ways that Stephen King can only dream of.