The Rilke Quote tattooed on Lady Gaga’s arm

Lady Gaga has had her left arm tattood, which can be prominently seen in her new “Telephone” video, since August 2009. She got it in Osaka, Japan on a midnight tattoo run when she was in the country getting Hello Kitty photographs taken.

The cursive script is a Rilke quote, a poet who Gaga calls her “favorite philosopher.” It’s written in German, Rilke’s language, but translates in English as:

“Confess to yourself in the deepest hour of the night whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. Dig deep into your heart, where the answer spreads its roots in your being, and ask yourself solemnly, Must I write?”

Some claim this is just dribbling German romanticism, but anyone who’s ever come to a crossroads in life where you are forced to choose between two things knows that there’s something too this type of melodrama. Sometimes it is the only thing. There are many kinds of death we endure in our lives before our heart stops beating, it doesn’t mean that you will stop breathing if you don’t do what you dream of doing, or what makes your feel the most at home in the world. But part of yourself does get packed up and forgotten.

Lady Gaga may mean something a little more literal, she may really think that she may die if she does write music or wear artsy-fartsy clothing, or inspire the devotion of millions (maybe billions?). During many of her onstage performances she collapses to the floor and tells the audience that she’s like Tinkerbell, and they must applaud to make her live.

UPDATE Here’s the finished product snapped at 2 a.m. at a recording studio in West Hollywood August 12, 2011:

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