This tattoo belongs to E.
This poem was one of the first poems I ever read. The imagery and the power of the poem has stuck with me, more then a decade later. I find daily inspiration with this poem. There are several things that give me hope. Two are expressed in the initials snuck into the branch---JCG which are the initials of both my brother and my grandfather. Without them, I would be adrift in the storm that is life. I love owls, and always have, but I must say that my love of them has increased since my significant other has started to call me his owl. All in all, it makes for a tattoo that I adore.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops-at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
— Hope is the Thing With Feathers by Emily Dickinson
This tattoo belongs to KI Hope:
This quote is from Isaac Bashevis Singer, from a short story called "The Letter Writer" in his 1964 novel The Seance. It combines one of my favorite authors and what is hands down the most moving piece of literature I have ever read with my veganism and cynical belief that man is the great destroyer. I was nervous to have the word "Nazi" on me, but Kevin Marr at Godspeed Tattoo tucked it inside my arm, so it isn't obvious to the casual onlooker. Singer was a devout vegetarian and his whole family died in the Holocaust, so I felt that if he was so set in his ethics that he made this comparison, it is alright.
In his thoughts, Herman spoke a eulogy for the mouse who had shared a portion of her life with him and who, because of him, had left this earth. "What do they know - all those scholars, all those philosophers, all the leaders of the world - about such as you? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka. And yet man demands compassion from heaven." Herman clapped his hand to his mouth. "I mustn't live, I mustn't! I can no longer be part of it! God in heaven - take me away!"
- Isaac Bashevis Singer, The Seance
This is Kirsten's tattoo:
This tattoo is from a book called The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. It is a fantasy book, which is a genre I don't usually read, but it is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. This is the full text: I smiled, "Deoch, my heart is made of stronger stuff than glass. When she strikes she'll find it strong as iron-bound brass, or gold and adamant together mixed. Don't think I am unaware, some startled deer to stand transfixed by hunter's horns. It's she who should take care, for when she strikes, my heart will make a sound so beautiful and bright that it can't help but bring her back to me in winged light."
I got this tattoo at the end of last summer. It was the best summer and the worst couple months of my life. Tragedy and heartbreak piled up and all the while I was having fun and loving as hard as I could. I realized that we are bigger than our pain and that nothing will ever break me completely. It was very painful but I never regretted it for a second. We are all so much stronger than we know.
This is Paul's tattoo.
This was posted as a part of “So it Goes” Saturdays. The phrase “so it goes” appears in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five 106 times. Can you help me collect 106 “so it goes” tattoos? 20 down, 86 to go.
This is Audrey's tattoo.
I got this tattoo because the quote, and really the whole book, deals with having a view outside of just what society has taught us. The room of this novel is society's rules and the view is the willingness to not always just succumb to those rules. That theme is something I hope to carry throughout my life as well. There is always a struggle between doing what is expected of us and what we feel is right or even just what we want. I hope to always overcome that struggle.
"I have a view, I have a view."
Miss Bartlett was startled. Generally at a pension people looked them over for a day or two before speaking, and often did not find out that they would "do" till they had gone. She knew that the intruder was ill-bred, even before she glanced at him. He was an old man, of heavy build, with a fair, shaven face and large eyes. There was something childish in those eyes, though it was not the childishness of senility. What exactly it was Miss Bartlett did not stop to consider, for her glance passed on to his clothes. These did not attract her. He was probably trying to become acquainted with them before they got into the swim. So she assumed a dazed expression when he spoke to her, and then said: "A view? Oh, a view! How delightful a view is!"
- E.M. Forster, A Room With a View
This is Sam's tattoo from Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves:
The main character, Johnny Truant, strings these seemingly random words: Known. Some. Call. Is. Air. Am. and follows it with "Incoherent? Yes. Entirely without meaning? I'm afraid not."
The assortment of words is actually phonetic Latin for "Non sum qualis eram." or "I am not what I once was."
When I first read the passage, I thought it was just a clever ploy by the author, but as time went on and I got older, I realized how much the quote meant to me. Growing up, I realized I was a completely different person than who I thought I was. The only natural thing to do was to express it with something permanent and unchanging.
This is Terra's tattoo:
My grandmother, who was also one of my closest friends, recently died. She was named Annabelle Lee after the Edgar Allan Poe poem, although spelled differently. In her memory, this is my new tattoo of the first stanza of the poem, with her name in her own handwriting (I got it from her passport).
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
- Excerpt from "Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allan Poe. Read the whole poem here.