Do I dare disturb the universe?

Literary Tattoos: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock T.S. Eliot

“And indeed there will be time
To wonder, ‘Do I dare?’ and, ‘Do I dare?’
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: 'How his hair is growing thin!']
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: 'But how his arms and legs are thin!']
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?

In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.”

This is Callie’s tattoo:

This is a question asked by a man in the poem “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot (my favorite poet).  In the poem, he tries over and over to muster up the courage to pursue his dreams, but his fears and doubts always stop him.  This is my personal reminder everyday, a way to constantly ask myself, “Am I brave enough to make a difference in the world?”  I want to be able to answer, “Yes.”


  1. cait says

    i really like this poem as well. i've seen this tattoo before a few times but this is the best i've seen! i love the boldness of it – and the font is just perfect! and the meaning behind it for you is awesome!

    i'm envious!

  2. david says

    awesome :) Definitely my favorite poem, and I have a Prufrock tattoo on my wrist, too. I thought about getting that line, too, but instead went with another.

  3. Callie says

    This is mine… I still love it just as much as the first day I got it. It's something I can treasure for the rest of my life. For some reason, Eliot speaks to me so personally. I'm an English major and I've been exposed to dozens of poets, but he's still my favorite. The font is Monotype Corsiva, in case you're wondering.

    • Stephen wagener says

      Dear Callie I am writing a book about decision making. your tat raises a great question and fits into my chapter on rigid thinking, I want to use it to challenge the madness. Can we talk further and see if you would give me permission, to use the pic and the words you wrote. I can share my text with you and how it fits in with the rest of my book. I will give full credit to you, as per all the other credits I have used already.
      With kind regards Steve

        • Stephen wagener says

          Hi there, happy to talk, could only find your Avatar landing page. Rigid thinking needs to be challenged that’s why I luv what Callie has done. Steve

  4. Jeremy says

    That's my sister! Well… she's like my sister. I'm so proud of her! Also that's one of my favorite tattoos possibly EVER!

  5. natajah says

    i really love tattoo and this poem. one day i plan to get a tattoo of a woman with a bitten peach in one hand and her trousers rolled up to represent this poem. i like the way you worded it

    "Am I brave enough to make a difference in this world?"

    I want to be able to say "yes" too.

  6. CJS says

    I love this! I just submitted my Prufrock tattoo, on my shoulder blade with this line and the rest of it. It is much smaller, though. I love your boldness and placement .

    It's always been my favorite line, and my reasons are much the same. I came to a place in my life where I needed to "disturb the universe" and I'm glad I was able to. My own universe, anyway ;-)
    Nicely done.


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