miles to go before I sleep

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

This tattoo belongs to MareJBear.

My submission is from Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” It is on my left foot. It is in his original handwriting as he has an autographed book. I got it because I am in love with the last verse of the poem:

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

To me it is motivational as is beautiful and the placement has significance has well.

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

The Riddle of Strider

Literary Tattoos: The Lord of the Rings J. R. R. Tolkien Elvish All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter

This tattoo belongs to Patrick Kern.

This tattoo is taken from the first two lines of J.R.R Tolkien’s poem “The Riddle of Strider“. The lines are in Sindarin Tengwar, and they read “All that is gold does not glitter; Not all who wander are lost“. The poem describes the character of Aragorn, and his rise from an unknown Dunedein Ranger of the north, to the High King of Gondor (Thus, the crowned White Tree of Gondor in the center.)

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

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

This belongs to Kristina Keefe.

My tattoo is Robert frost’s last stanza in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

I got this shortly after my grandmother suddenly died when I was a teen. She had written it to me in her last letter, telling me to read more & that this poem was her favorite.
The font is her actual handwriting, taken from the letter and copied onto my skin. The concept is the roots of the tree reach thru her journey to the faith. The top of the sleeve is still under construction.

Artist: Kenneth “tat” Bryan of Intimate Body Art Studies in Glenside, PA.

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.

- Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Nada puede matar nuestro mejor

Literary Tattoos: The Sea and the Bells Pablo Neruda Literary Tattoos: The Sea and the Bells Pablo Neruda

This belongs to Mariel.  She originally submitted her tattoo in 2012 while the site was on hiatus, so I contacted her for an update.  The pictures at the top of the post were taken when the tattoo was fresh, and the pictures below were taken recently.

This is another of my literary tattoos. It is a quotation from Pablo Neruda in his book The Sea and the Bells. The poem itself is untitled. The text of it can be found on the Google Books website.

For the sake of authenticity, it was really important for me to get the tattoo in its original Spanish. It reads, “Nada puede matar nuestro mejor.” According to the English translation in the book, it means “Nothing is able to kill the best in us,” but I usually just tell people it means “Nothing can kill our best.” To me, this tattoo is a reminder that I am stronger than I imagine, and that life’s challenges cannot defeat what is best in me.

Pablo Neruda is one of my favorite poets. I originally fell in love with his romantic poetry, but this quotation helped me cope with my husband’s deployment to Afghanistan and all the hardship that entailed.

The font I used is Scriptina Pro.

Literary Tattoos: The Sea and the Bells Pablo Neruda Literary Tattoos: The Sea and the Bells Pablo Neruda

Practice resurrection.

Literary Tattoos: Wendell Berry Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

This tattoo belongs to Teigen.

This is the last line of Wendell Berry’s poem Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front. This line has been ringing in my head for years, since I first heard the poem read in a church service. I grew up in the woods, and it kills me to see our culture’s despoiling and neglect of nature. Having these words on my wrist reminds me to choose the uphill path, to make decisions in my daily life which uphold the life and happiness of those around me, and to treat the world as sacred.

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

- Wendell Berry

Boundless Love

Literary Tattoos: Meditations in an Emergency Frank OHara

This belongs to Claire Brooks.

My tattoo is an excerpt from a line in Frank O’Hara’s poem “Meditations in an Emergency,” the first part of which goes as follows:

Am I to become profligate as if I were a blonde? Or religious as if I were French?

Each time my heart is broken it makes me feel more adventurous (and how the same names keep recurring on that interminable list!), but one of these days there’ll be nothing left with which to venture forth.

Why should I share you? Why don’t you get rid of someone else for a change?

I am the least difficult of men. All I want is boundless love.

Even trees understand me! Good heavens, I lie under them, too, don’t I? I’m just like a pile of leaves.

Frank O’Hara is my favorite poet, and the line “All I want is boundless love” became an inside joke between my partner and I when we were courting. I recommend ALL his poetry, but this poem and “Mayakovsky” are by far my favorites. I love having Frank’s words where I can see them at any time.

my fate

This belongs to Jaclyn.

Throughout my entire life, I’ve always felt like I was running away from the norms of society. I felt hunted by fashion magazines, beauty trends, and corporate America. “Just be normal,” they would say, while trying to change me. But I don’t like being normal. I like being me.

Literary Tattoos: my fate my doom smiles at me Charles Bukowski

my fate

like the fox
I run with the hunted and
if I’m not the happiest
man on earth I’m surely the
luckiest man
alive.

- by Charles Bukowski

Question for my readers: I have seen this line as its own poem, “my fate“, and as part of a larger poem, “my doom smiles at me“. Does anyone know the story here?