Do I dare disturb the universe?

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

This was submitted by Maddie.

It’s from T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. When I first read it, this is the quote that stuck with me. Then one of my English teachers told me to go knock the universe off its axis and send it reeling. The combination of both of those ideas made me think that maybe I really could do something powerful. It made me think that I could possibly change the world and have an impact. I got it as a reminder to always be insane and creative and impulsive. The teapot is Russell’s teapot and is a testament to my Atheism. The teapot essentially disproves the idea of God because Russell said (paraphrased) that the it was just as likely that there was a teapot floating in space as it was that God existed. I’m also just really fascinated with the idea of the universe and space.

This is the graphic the tattoo is based on:

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

Coffee Spoons

This is Meghan’s tattoo.

I fell in love with this line the first time I read Prufrock. I can honestly say it changed how I think about life.

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

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

- T.S. Eliot, ”The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Peach

This is Kristina’s tattoo:

Here is my peach. I’ve wanted it since I first read “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” in high school. There are so many lines in that poem that have spoken to my life, but this is what I chose. I will always eat the peach.

It was done by Josh at FATink Tattoo in Tampa, Florida.

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

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

- T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Love Song

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

This is Pilar Pedrosa Pilar‘s tattoo.

I’m having ”which a minute will reverse” done on my left arm to complement this line. I like having J. Alfred all over my body.

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

This is Chelsea’s.

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

This is Emily’s.

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.

- T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

there will be time

This is David’s tattoo.

I picked out this quote because I feel like life should be like this line. Not everything needs to be in such a rush, not everything needs to be instant, and some things should be left for discovery.

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

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window panes; 25
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

- Excerpt from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot.  Read the whole poem here.

coffee spoons

This is Elena’s tattoo:

I have always had an affinity for T.S. Eliot, and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is simultaneously poignant and pretentious; what’s not to love? I realized every job I’ve had, from telemarketing for Gevalia, working third shift in a diner, and for the last few years, serving coffee as a barista at Starbucks, has involved coffee. I drink it, I serve it, I live it. I truly have measured out my life with coffee spoons. My name’s Lena, and after a useless English Lit. degree, a graduate degree, I’m still working at Starbucks; but I’m okay with that. Today, feeling slightly Prufrockian, I thought I’d make it a permanent statement.

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

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

- T.S. Eliot, ”The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

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.”