Mighty Red Pen

July 27, 2008

Tattoo you

Filed under: Overseen,Wordsworthy — mighty red pen @ 12:53 pm
Tags: , ,

Hat tip to our friends at Ducks and Drakes for this cool little blog: Contrariwise: Literary Tattoos.

Here’s a little sample of the sort of thing you’d see over there:

Very popular are Le Petit Prince, Dr. Seuss, and this quotation from Kurt Vonnegut, “Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.” Also, Sylvia Plath and E.E. Cummings (shoot, that was my idea!). My favorite might have been a tattoo of Harriet the Spy.

Which got me to thinking: is there a literary quotation that I connect with so much that I’d want to have permanently engraved on my skin? I’m still thinking . . . meanwhile, I’d be interested to hear your ideas (and gosh, if you actually have one, let’s hear about that, too!).



  1. I’ve always been fond of A.E. Waite’s quote:

    “It is difficult to say any longer that we walk in the shadow of death when the darkness is sown with stars.”

    Comment by David — July 28, 2008 @ 9:15 am | Reply

  2. I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine. – Song of Solomon

    or another good one is “First, Do No Harm” but in latin. it’s so much cooler!

    Comment by static monkey — July 28, 2008 @ 9:14 pm | Reply

  3. I would very much love to have that tattoo as well. Thanks for the idea.

    Comment by undernews — July 28, 2008 @ 11:53 pm | Reply

  4. Oh, man, this post is dangerous for me. For years I’ve been simultaneously wanting and fearing to get a tattoo. YEARS. What I’m jonesing for now is a Caslon ornamental flower from the eighth edition of the “Chicago Manual of Style.” I know that may not count as a literary tattoo, but boy howdy, those Caslon flowers are gorgeous and so . . . so . . . editorial!

    Comment by Editrix — July 30, 2008 @ 2:31 pm | Reply

  5. j. alfred prufrock…. a wonderful poem and a nice tattoo. actually this was one of the more profound passages from the poem. nice.

    Comment by kirby — November 6, 2008 @ 12:48 am | Reply

    • And would it have been worth it, after all,
      After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
      Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
      Would it have been worth while, 90
      To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
      To have squeezed the universe into a ball
      To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
      To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
      Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”— 95
      If one, settling a pillow by her head,
      Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
      That is not it, at all.”

      Comment by Nathan Glab — August 4, 2011 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

  6. well i have my fathers signature tattooed on my lower back ( i know i know, odd tramp stamp right) eventually i am going to have angles wings tih stars behind them, the stars skin tone and the surrounding area shaded lightly and this quote under my fathers name
    “without the dark, we’d never see the stars”

    Comment by Carly — October 6, 2009 @ 1:28 pm | Reply

  7. “I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
    I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
    I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
    I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
    I wish enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Good-bye..”
    i have this on my lower back…a tribute to my father who past away from cancer in 2005

    Comment by kaylee — January 4, 2010 @ 7:54 pm | Reply

  8. I desperately want a tattoo of a quote, but can’t decide! Soooo many choices…

    Comment by Jess — February 3, 2010 @ 9:09 pm | Reply

  9. I think if you want to get ink of a quote then you must have a quote on which you believe and accept deeply.

    Comment by Pisces Tattoo Lover — April 15, 2010 @ 11:32 am | Reply

  10. Dorothy Parker has wonderful observations. Here’s a tattoo that I might get:

    “I like to have written.”

    This response was Dorothy’s to the query,

    “Do you like to write?”


    Comment by Bill Sanders — July 17, 2010 @ 9:14 am | Reply

  11. I have an OE word (in Gothic type) on my ribcage – “haeftling.” No one sees it, but it’s there, and it’s my personal reminder to check the spiritual condition of my heart. I love it! But a word of advice: think about it for more than a year. If you can’t shake it, do it! (Warning: it’s addictive… I want more!)

    Comment by Jess — September 8, 2010 @ 9:04 am | Reply

  12. I believe this particular tattoo is a quote from T.S. Eliots “The lovesong of J alfred Prufrock”

    Comment by Nathan Glab — August 4, 2011 @ 2:24 pm | Reply

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