If I ever got a literary tattoo (which is a pretty slim chance because I'm a big baby about needles), it would be taken from a poem from Emily Dickinson.
This poem, to be precise:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in 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.
This is the poem that I repeated to myself while waiting for my mom to wake up from surgery, while waiting to see if the treatment would work. It's the only poem that I can recite more or less by heart. And the Belle of Amherst is right - hope never asks anything of you but it sure takes a beating.