La La Land

The road the righteous travel is like the sunrise, getting brighter and brighter until daylight has come. -Proverbs 4:18

Recently, my husband and I watched the movie La La Land. I am not sure that it could be described as a masterpiece, but it was sweet and full of pursuing one’s passion. The story reminded me again of how challenging it can be to follow your heart and follow your dreams. Some will recognize “following your heart” as actually being “following your calling”. The movie inspired me even more to do just that.

One day, I will get there.

A famous South African poet, NP van Wyk Louw, wrote in his poem “Die Beiteltjie” about his belief that, if a person would just keep at pursuing their goals and dreams, they will have a breakthrough one day. Here is the poem in Afrikaans (too beautiful) and English.

Die Beiteltjie

Ek kry ‘n klein klein beiteltjie,
ek tik hom en hy klink;
toe slyp ek en ek slyp hom
totdat hy klink en blink.

Ek sit ‘n klippie op ‘n rots:
-mens moet jou vergewis:
‘n beitel moet kan klip breek
as hy ‘n beitel is-

ek slaat hom met my beiteltjie
en dié was sterk genoeg:
daar spring die klippie stukkend
so skoon soos langs ‘n voeg:

toe, onder my tien vingers bars
die grys rots middeldeur
en langs my voete voel ek
die sagte aarde skeur,

die donker naat loop deur my land
en kloof hom wortel toe-
só moet ‘n beitel slaan
wat beitel is, of hoe?

Dan, met twee goue afgronde
val die planeet aan twee
en oor die kranse, kokend,
verdwyn die vlak groen see

en op die dag sien ek die nag
daar anderkant gaan oop
met ‘n bars wat van my beitel af
dwarsdeur die sterre loop.

The Small Chisel
Translation by CJD Harvey

I take a chisel, very small,
I tap it and it rings;
I sharpen it and sharpen it
until it shines and sings.

I place a stone upon a rock:
-for surely it’s well known
a chisel that is genuine
should easily break a stone-

I hit it with my chisel hard
and, strong enough its point,
the stone is cleanly split in two
as though along a joint:

then, under my ten fingers bursts
the grey rock suddenly;
I feel the soft earth at my feet
dividing under me;

the dark rift runs right through my land,
cleft to the roots, like that!
a chisel surely should do this
if it is real, or what?

The planet then, in cliffs of gold,
the two halves falling free,
is split, and boiling, o’er the cliffs
plunges the flat green sea

and with that sight I see the night
beyond split open too
with a crack that from my chisel runs
the furthest stars right through.

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