‘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 love that sets