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.
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,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
– “Stopping By The Woods On A Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost