Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Literary Body Art

For the millionth time, I love reading. I love books. I love words. The other day I happened to stumble across (literally, i was using stumble upon) a tattoo that quoted my favorite ee cummings poem. I thought it was beautiful and it got me started looking around for litarary tattoos. Below are some of my favorites.

I'm not really one to have tattoos all over, but I do think these are beautiful and fun and speak loudly. All of them are from books or poems that I love and have read and reread.

A quote (paraphrase from the 11th book of The Illiad.

A picture of Harriet, from the book Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. I loved this book so much..I used to play "town" and carry around a notebook just like Harriet.

EE Cumming's entire poem, I Carry Your Heart In My Heart.

The drawing from Shel Silverstein's poem Invitation.

“If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!”

Harry Potter- A quote from Dumbledore to Harry in The Sorcerer's Stone about a mirror who shows whomever looks into it their greatest desire.

Emily Dickenson's poem Not In Vain.

"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."

Max, from Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

From The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Sam tapped her hand on the steering wheel. Patrick held his hand outside the car and made air waves. And I just sat between them. After the song finished, I said something.

“I feel infinite.”

And Sam and Patrick looked at me like I said the greatest thing they ever heard. Because the song was that great and because we all really paid attention to it. Five minutes of a lifetime were truly spend, and we felt young in a good way.

From Emily Dickenson's poem Hope Is The Thing With Feathers

"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches on 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."

Charles Bukowski, For Jane

225 days under grass
and you know more than I.
they have long taken your blood,
you are a dry stick in a basket.
is this how it works?
in this room
the hours of love
still make shadows.

when you left
you took almost
I kneel in the nights
before tigers
that will not let me be.

what you were
will not happen again.
the tigers have found me
and I do not care.

Excerpt From Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's

“But you can’t give your heart to a wild thing; the more you do, the stronger they get. Until they’re strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That’s how you’ll end up if you love a wild thing. You’ll end up looking at the sky. But believe me- it’s better to look at the sky than to live there. Such an empty place; so vague. just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear…”

Molly Bloom's soliloquy from Ulysses by James Joyce.

“…I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”

Harry Potter "Mischief Managed" tattoo.

from The Lorax by Shel Silverstein

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. "

What do you think about tattoos? Do you have any?


  1. I love these! The EE Cummings poem is one of my all time favorites!!

  2. i love tattoo's some I find a little out there, but I have 4, wrist, 2 on my feet and 1 on my ribs. I love them all because I've never seen anyone else with them and I drew them all. They are pretty addicting. Cool post.

  3. These delineations are perfectly styled !!! i just love the tattooed and pierced body ,it goes with the state-of-art.


  4. These are all beyond amazing... I love tattoos. I have 5, and am thinking about getting a 6th. I'm actually considering doing a line from a poem or a quote I love.. we'll see.

  5. I LOVE this post! These ideas are absolutely brilliant, and I am envious I did not think of this myself! I have one tattoo - a fairy, on my left shoulder - but have been considering getting another. This was definitely an inspiration =)

    My fsv. is the Emily Dickenson's poem, "Hope is The Thing With Feathers..." I also like the "Mischief Managed" tattoo (ingenious) and the Lorax. Now I'm going to stalk Google all night lol.

  6. I am not a tattoo kind of girl, but a lot of these were so unique!

  7. Wow I love love love that white tattoo! EVent hough generally speaking I hate tattoos. However these were fabulous and incredibly fun to read about. You certainly did you research to find out where these all came from! Bravo!

  8. I love lit tattoos that are written around the collar bones. . .they're just so gorgeous.


  9. Lorax is Dr. Seuss, not Shel Silverstein.

  10. I love these! I don't have one yet but I have 2 in the works. Both all word tattoos. One will go across my back and will say
    God & King & Sacrifice

    The other is the entirety of Jeremiah 29:11 down my right side.
    "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord. "Plans to help you not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

  11. I was named after the character Holly Golightly, oddly enough (but more from the movie, then the book-which I finally got a chance to read).

    I have a tattoo on my back which is a line from one of Shakespeare's plays, that reads, "The world is not your friend."
    Technically it is suppose to be The world is not thy friend, but I decided to make it a little more modern.

  12. Where are you located? Anywhere near SoCal?


I would love to hear from you!