Coming Back Home in Every Way to the River

As I was finishing up my internship at the Cheetah Conservation Fund 3 weeks ago, I was inevitably thinking a lot about home. All interns that leave CCF have to write an intern story about their time here, and I’d been swirling sentences around in my head since my trip with the last long-term intern a few weeks before and thinking about all I’ve done.

I’ve definitely changed and grown there, hopefully in ways for the better. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I have grown up by 9 months, but I feel I am 9 months the wiser in the ways of the world and the working environment. I’ve realised that I can’t spend all day on a laptop doing research, and that whatever career path I end up following will require something outside and something physical; lifting boxes doesn’t really count. I’ve rediscovered a love of gardening. I’ve rediscovered my poetry. I probably drank more and slept less than at university. I certainly discovered the bare minimum amount of sleep I need to function.

I’ve also, and most importantly, met many incredible people who have done amazing things and have fantastic stories, who have inspired me to do similar things with my life.

But I’ve also come to appreciate all my creature comforts and where I have come from. The first things I missed was probably my bed, control over food, and similar, but then it became things that are particular to home, like spending days climbing brick walls with friends and going to the pub. I was excited to go home, but I am going to miss CCF, the people, and the work (and the dogs), but regardless of all of that, I’m hopefully more mature and capable and can bring these changes home.

Therefore, this post ‘s poem is about home. There are two specific places that represent home to me; the first is my favourite spots in the woods in Shoreham, and the second is the Eynsford river, which is the focus of this poem. I’m sure everyone knows songs about home and all the different interpretations of it, but to me, home is where I am happy, and where I have come from and grown, which I feel comes across in this poem. This is also a good example of the saying, “Write drunk, edit sober”, as I wrote out all my thoughts frantically, and then realised it wasn’t focused enough. Therefore, to summarise it nicely, I condensed it into a classic sonnet, entitled, “The River”.

The River

Sunlit rivers wore the soul of lovers,
Ripples were a thousand fractured diamonds,
Grasses the caress of loving mothers,
Borne again in children’s own reflections.
Fish and summers danced around their ankles,
Neither to be kept in nets forever,
Tea alone tempts children from their shackles,
Shedding gills and gladness to the river.
Though our days are now a different season,
And those summers flee like flowing water,
I see for a hundred happy reasons,
In the waves, my mother and her daughter.
Bearing homeward all that I am given.
Flowing to my heart, my veins, the river.