Miles to Go

Literary Tattoos: Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening Robert Frost Hope is the Thing With Feathers Emily Dickinson

This belongs to Lynae M.

The words are in my mom’s handwriting. I’d always wanted a tattoo consisting of a favorite quotation or phrase, and this fantastic poem kept coming back to me while I was searching for the right one.

Literary Tattoos: Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening Robert Frost Hope is the Thing With Feathers Emily Dickinson

This belongs to El Tejon.

I am aware of the many different interpretations of this classic poem by Robert Frost. However, for me, the most resonant interpretation is the most straightforward and is the one that reminds me to be on guard to keep those things that are important in my life foremost in my thoughts. It is a reminder that although there are many temptations out there, my promises to my kids, my coworkers, myself, and others that depend on me, must come before transient distractions that don’t measurably move the ball forward, as they say. That is not to say I can’t have fun; everything in moderation, including moderation, I have heard and co-opted before, but for one that gets distracted and off track easily, this mantra, permanent and visible, always get me focused and back on track . The trees were designed by the artist in consultation with me. It is my first pictorial tattoo but will likely not be my last.

Literary Tattoos: Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening Robert Frost Hope is the Thing With Feathers Emily Dickinson

This is Emy’s tattoo.  The feather is from Emily Dickinson’s Hope is the Thing With Feathers.

My life has completely changed in the past year and I have been through a lot of really difficult situations. For me, this tattoo was sort of a way to close that chapter of my life and celebrate overcoming every obstacle. I also got it so that I would never forget the things that I went through and to serve as a reminder that I still have a long way to go before I am completely healed from it all.

Literary Tattoos: Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening Robert Frost Hope is the Thing With Feathers Emily Dickinson

This is Rachel Hunt’s.

I got this tattoo in honor of my Mom and Grandmother. It’s my Grandma’s favorite poem that she would often read to me as a young child. She always would stress the last lines and say, “What do you think they mean? They say to me that even though death seems far away, the traveler is very tired.” And that always stuck with me. The compass is paired with the quote on my foot to always send me in the right direction, because if you have a compass you know where you are off to. I have many miles to travel before I’m threw. It was inked by Dylan Young at Black Metal Tattoos, Strongsville OH.

Literary Tattoos: Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening Robert Frost Hope is the Thing With Feathers Emily Dickinson

This belongs to Lisa.

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

Hope

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.

Literary Tattoos: Hope is the Thing With Feathers Emily Dickinson

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

forever is composed of nows

This tattoo belongs to Ciara Musser.

Literary Tattoos: Forever — is composed of Nows — Emily Dickinson

Forever – is composed of Nows –
‘Tis not a different time –
Except for Infiniteness –
And Latitude of Home –

From this – experienced Here –
Remove the Dates – to These –
Let Months dissolve in further Months –
And Years – exhale in Years –

Without Debate – or Pause –
Or Celebrated Days –
No different Our Years would be
From Anno Dominies –

- Emily Dickinson, “Forever — is composed of Nows —”

Hope is the Thing with Feathers part 2

Emily submitted this tattoo, and said:  “I got this as a Christmas present this year and was sad to see that someone else on your blog has the same verse!”

Literary Tattoos: Hope is the Thing With Feathers Emily Dickinson

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

Hope is the Thing With Feathers

Literary Tattoos: Hope is the Thing With Feathers Emily Dickinson

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 DickinsonLiterary Tattoos: Hope is the Thing With Feathers Emily Dickinson

It is my second tattoo. I got it because that poem helped me through
hard times. I was hearing impaired my whole life, and then I lost all
the hearing I had left when I was seventeen years old due to a rare
disorder. I was totally deaf for 7 months. I held out hope that it
would eventually come back. It never did. It happened at the worst
time, it was my last year in high school, I was on the dance team, I
was applying to college. I didnt know any people like me. I was so
alone. When I felt like just giving up and shutting myself out from
the “hearing world”, It sounds crazy but I guess you could say that I
made up a little bird that kept me going. It kept me company. the
bird helped me see the light, made me realize who my friends were,
pushed me to get straight A’s in school, taught me how to dance
without hearing the music, motivated me to go to the college I wanted
to even if it was far away from home, and it helped me use my
adversity in my artwork. I received a cochlear implant that year.
The day they turned it on, one of the first sounds I heard was a bird
singing when I was leaving the hospital. It was vague, because my
brain wasn’t used to hearing again, but I could hear it. It was like
I had set my bird free. So I put the first stanza of the poem on my
body because it is a good reminder of where I came from and how far
i’ve come. And to never forget my little bird.

Sincerely,
Amy K.

I shall not live in vain…

Submitted by Katie:

I got the tattoo when I was going through a series of events I ended up losing a large number of those who were close to me. I got to a point where I was absolutely miserable and couldn’t find a good reason to wake up in the morning. I work in dorms and during my hard times some of my residents who I’d helped quite a bit throughout the year saw through my “I’m fine”‘s and would come to me and would talk to me about all the different ways I’d helped them. In the midst of everything piling up it just reminded me that despite whatever BS I’ve gone through if I’m still able to wake up in the morning and help make someone else’s life better then my own will always have meaning. (The little flurries you see around the text are from a dandelion that’s on my back.)

Literary Tattoos: Not In Vain Emily Dickinson

IF I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
- Emily Dickinson, Not In Vain