Here, it was love at first sight: the homecoming
avidly sought throughout a lifetime. Ancient
emotionally charged walls and parapets drew me in,
and now I cannot imagine ever wanting to leave
a place so enigmatic and enchanting.
To most, it appears only atmospheric - harboring the subtle echoes
of long-forgotten triumphs and tragedies.
Our footfalls and voices intrude, but the house remains aloof:
a non-interactive observer, rooted in bygone times.
Exquisite oaken beams are edged with quatrefoils, demi-angels and pierced tracery,
lovingly crafted by expert hands using skills now practically extinct.
But this ornamentation is only a small part of Lytes' timeless allure -
past generations of occupants remain here still.
They impress themselves upon our consciousness,
infusing our minds with a powerful sense of belonging.
These days, as I walk among them, they totally inhabit me.
Then each time I leave, I am hollowed out.
These ethereal beings mingle with the visitors,
their footsteps following well-trodden familiar paths.
The two leather ladies, one either side of the fireplace,
keep watch as the centuries roll by.
Their expressions appear somewhat haughty, possibly disapproving.
It is as if they know, can see into our Souls
and interpret our life-paths and aspirations.
But these have no interest in our trivial wants -
for they are from an age before self became all-absorbing.
A spectral Lady Catherine Neville stands
examining her own portrait that adorns the Oriel chimney piece.
Casual observers walk clean through her. One remarks:
"There is a peculiar chill here. It sends shivers down my spine.
I don't like this place at all. It reminds me of a ghastly sepulchre!"
Such blasphemy shocks me.
My Lytes Cary could never be an abode of the dead.
The truth is in the company I keep - and what I shall someday also be:
an indelible shadow on the stone spiral staircase...