Tattoo: “With You Forever”
The poem "Tattoo" by Ted Kooser dramatizes how things of your youth are carried with you although so much else changes with your age. These are dramatized through the comparison of what the tattoo meant at one time and how after years, the old man is just as any other old man. The tone of the poem in the very beginning is straight forward by showing how things in the past linger on, when it comes to the middle it changes over to a strong youth, and the end of the poem is just sort of mellow, as if it is nothing but an ordinary day. The speaker talks about the tattoo on the old man who’s at a yard sale on a chilly morning, contrasting his youth and his age to show the mark that the tattoo symbolized in his younger years. The poem shows a theme of how although things change, the past will always be a part of us; such as how a tattoo will stay with you forever. The speaker observed what the tattoo once meant and figuring what kind of person the man once was by his tattoo. By his tattoo of a dripping dagger held in the fist of a shuddering heart, the speaker says that he looks like someone you had to reckon with. This makes sense because the word fist symbolizes much more than just a hand; it symbolizes something more angry and tough and same with a dripping dagger that also symbolizes that he wouldn't need to think twice before taking vengeance. The speaker
talks about the tattoo first and after the description of the tattoo, there is a period which suggests period between youth and age. After that description there are only commas for punctuation. The tattoo is discussed in the past tense 'What was once meant to be a statement' showing that this tattoo signified what the man was in his youth. He compares who the man was in his youth to being 'as strong as a stallion, fast and ornery,' and then addresses how he is now; 'he is only another old man...his heart gone soft and blue with stories'. It is said...