Themes and Meanings

(Critical Guide to Poetry for Students)

“Wales Visitation” is a poem about poetic inspiration, the oneness of all in the universe (humanity, nature, and God), and an appreciation of the natural world. All three issues are intertwined in this experience, inspired by Ginsberg’s LSD experimentation, in which he was trying to enhance the visionary experience through the use of hallucinatory drugs.

The poem suggests that the poetic imagination can be inspired by the external world, and in this regard Ginsberg is moving away from poetry reflecting his own inner experience as a visionary to a poetry that records the poet’s response to the external “particulars,” as he calls them. The art of poetry enables one to see as Blake, Wordsworth, and all other poets—and God—can see. Like his predecessor and inspiration Blake, the poet assumes the role of godhead in Ginsberg’s vision. Through the use of LSD, the poet believes that he has enhanced his acute perceptions of the world outside himself and recognized the oneness of all spirit. That is, Ginsberg holds the Eastern idea that all the universe makes up “One Being” and that the role of the poet is that of prophet-inspirer who enables readers to see connections with this spirit emanating from all. Note particularly the images of breath and breathing, which Ginsberg takes as evidence of the oneness of all spirit.

Some of the most important lines in the poem occur in stanzas 5 through 9. In stanza 5, Ginsberg introduces the...

(The entire section is 499 words.)