Ginsberg was in the "madhouse" at the time of writing this letter. "I am not allowed a pen (and have no typewriter of course here) so I must use pencil, though it annoys me."
"My 'visions,'" he continued, "were just moments of feeling, and I was confused because I didn't know what was real.... Life as Jack (and other writers) says is basically irrational because we live in a world of thoughts, and a feeling that literally requires no thought (that includes thought which is just waste excess use of energy not used in feeling) - is bound to strike us as irrational. Life is not thought. The difference between absolute thought and absolute feeling is something that can only be known by experience. In my 'case' - I have lived all my life in thought in the past. That is why I am now in the madhouse, when I find that my world is only an empty shadow, and the reality terrifies me + drives me wild. How many others outside are in the position I was (and am) in [is] something which I am in no position at all to judge….It is not like making a slight adjustment to reality, like getting a job - every secret, every dread, every inhibition has to be inexorably explored and broken through - every deed has to be accounted for on other terms than those which I used to account for them."
At the end of this letter he attached a four-stanza poem:
It happened when the rain was grey A gloomy, doomy, cloudy day. I don't remember what it was, But then it seemed as clear as aglass. And anyway, it happened. Suspecting that my mind was shaken, At first I thought I was mistaken, But it was sweet + so sublime, And now it happens all the time, Or anyway, it happened. And even thought I don't know how I think about it even now; Things may come; things may go, What is to come I never know, But anyway, it happened. Never ask me what I mean, All I say is what I seen; Thought it seems to be a shame, Anyone can say the same Anyway, it happened.