Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I met Anna earlier this month in Penn Station. I felt compelled to stop her when she walked by and I caught a glimpse of this amazing tattoo:


I love seeing ink that is new and original, and I had never seen a line of anything run up the length of a leg like this.

Anna explained that this was a line of poetry that reads "My apologies to time for all the world I overlook each second" that she heard on a trip to Cambodia. Her group leader, Jan, had shared the poem, "Under One Small Star" by Polish Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska, and the verse meant a lot to her during her trip there. This one specific line really resounded with her, so she first "paid a Khmer translation site and then had a friend [she] made in Cambodia, Ponheary, check the translation just to make sure it was correct".


I love the international flavor of this tattoo - a poem originally in Polish, translated to English, then re-translated to Khmer, transcribed in flesh in America!

The line runs from top to bottom and was inked by Jason at Powerhouse Tattoo Company in Montclair, New Jersey.

The poem is reprinted in its entirety at the end of this post.

Since it is Tat-Tuesday, let's look at a second tattoo from Anna, this one on the back side of her right arm:


This is Joan of Arc, "a hero of mine," says Anna, who admires her from the feminist perspective and finds her an "unbelievably inspirational" historical figure.


This piece was tattooed by the wonderful Stephanie Tamez at New York Adorned. Stephanie's work has appeared previously on Tattoosday here.

Thanks again to Anna for sharing these two of her seven tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

Under One Small Star

My apologies to chance for calling it necessity.
My apologies to necessity if I'm mistaken, after all.
Please, don't be angry, happiness, that I take you as my due.
May my dead be patient with the way my memories fade.
My apologies to time for all the world I overlook each second.
My apologies to past loves for thinking that the latest is the first.
Forgive me, distant wars, for bringing flowers home.
Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger.
I apologize for my record of minuets to those who cry from the depths.
I apologize to those who wait in railway stations for being asleep
today at five a.m.
Pardon me, hounded hope, for laughing from time to time.
Pardon me, deserts, that I don't rush to you bearing a spoonful of water.
And you, falcon, unchanging year after year, always in the same cage,
your gaze always fixed on the same point in space,
forgive me, even if it turns out you were stuffed.
My apologies to the felled tree for the table's four legs.
My apologies to great questions for small answers.
Truth, please don't pay me much attention.
Dignity, please be magnanimous.
Bear with me, O mystery of existence, as I pluck the occasional thread
from your train.
Soul, don't take offense that I've only got you now and then.
My apologies to everything that I can't be everywhere at once.
My apologies to everyone that I can't be each woman and each man.
I know I won't be justified as long as I live,
since I myself stand in my own way.
Don't bear me ill will, speech, that I borrow weighty words,
then labor heavily so that they may seem light.

--Wislawa Szymborska

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