‘Yet it is only love that sets us free,’
‘And suddenly we see that love costs all we are and will ever be yet it is only love that sets us free,’ inspires Maya Angelou’s ‘Touched by an Angel’ poem about how love frees us from ‘coils of loneliness’ and timorousness, letting us live as ‘who we are and ever will be’.
She unveils love, a potent force for the liberation of the human spirit.
Mei dei Pa‘am witnesses post-war social unease in the melee of emerging new social orders, spawned by one of the worse conflicts the world has known.
Maeve fearlessly seeks to follow her love of fashion to escape from the social restrictions of her class whatever the cost and rises, as Angelou pens in ‘I rise’ a poem about the slavery of Afro-Americans,’ Out of the huts of history’s shame, I rise’ she affirms.
Maeve, a free spirit restrained by the restrictions of her loveless marriage, shackled to a man unable to love her, ‘rises’. Her single-minded determination to pursue her dream of working in the rag trade shaped her character, fashioned her love affairs, liberated her from her ‘sepia coloured existence’.
Recovering from her failed clandestine first love affair, she has the heart to ‘rise’ again .
‘How many of you out there been hurt in some kind of love affair, how many times, did you swear that you’d never love again ?’, questions Sting.
But Maeve, wretched at the loss of her first love, perseveres and ‘rising’ emerges Enlightened, ‘and still I rise into a daybreak that is wondrously clear’, meeting Manny, a holocaust survivor also ‘trodden onto the dust’, a German Jewish refugee with the heart to ‘rise’, rebuilding his life in the fashion industry by grit and graft, ironically making sense of the Nazi slogan, ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’.
A recent review of my story wrote: ‘A glorious vision of the past described by strong women who are not afraid of love and the heartache it brings’.
I was touched by this review as Mi dei Pa’am, a fictious story, was inspired my mother and her sister who also ‘rose’ from the wretchedness and prejudice associated with a poverty-stricken Manchester childhood post World- War one.
Reading the review brought into focus their strength, a fact that I had previously considered the norm rather than the exception.
As I grew up in the shadow of the devastation of World -War two how else could they be?
Between them, my mother and her sister created a haven for our family in a sometime-tough environment, an oasis in the desert of uncompromising city life. I was privileged to grow up in a family who, like many post-war did not have much money, giving me an early ‘heads up’ on one of life’s greatest lessons, as Angelou writes, ‘And suddenly we see that love costs all we are and will ever be. Yet it is only loved that sets us free’.