miles to go

This is Mackenzie Sky’s tattoo:

I encountered this poem when I was 17 in my literary class during my junior year of high school. I was going through a really rocky period in my life, and I found a calm in reading Robert Frost’s poetry, especially when I read this poem. It is my favorite. I had originally wanted to get the entire last stanza, but I realized that A) it would be really huge, and B) it wasn’t necessary. Although at first when I walked into the tattoo shop (The Parlour Tattoo, Eugene, OR) and the jolly/cynical desk man and the very attractive tattoo artist (the man who ended up DOING my tattoo) told me how large it would be, I was kind of crushed. In fact, I was really upset. But the more I thought about it, and the more research on my tattoo I did (fonts, sizes, spread, etc.) the more I realized I didn’t need the entire stanza: I just needed “miles to go”.

What the tattoo is for me is a reminder. It is my nine letter stamp that tells me I got through the rough times, and that I can keep going–I have to keep going. And that where ever I get to in life, be it another down-hill slide or something extremely rewarding, not to stay there too long, because I have to move on, and I have to keep moving on until I die.

I am very proud of my tattoo. I loved it before he put the stencil on me.

Literary Tattoos: Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

- “Stopping By The Woods On A Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost


  1. cortney says

    "I am very proud of my tattoo. I loved it before he put the stencil on me."

    i honestly couldn't say it better myself. i feel this way about all my tattoos. this is the key factor in a great tattoo. congrats :]

  2. ness says

    This is absolutely the same way I feel about the same words! In fact, this is the same tattoo I'm getting soon! I'm thinking about getting the whole last line though.

    I completely resonate with your understanding and meaning for it. It's my own mantra. It looks great, btw :)

  3. Dionne says

    Love it, made me think of lost friend that did commit suicide, and dealing with issues of my own at the old age of 40. I have never thought of a tattoo, but love that one.


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