Sinuosity: a found and erased poem
from “Watersheds” (Regehr, Williams, Wichert) in Special Places: The Changing Ecosystems of the Toronto Region. 1999.
A river’s sinuosity is its tendency to move
back and forth across the floodplain,
in an S-shaped pattern, over time, leaving behind
scars of where the river channel once was.
Hydrodynamic forces on a rotating planet mean
a stream will flow in a straight line only
if some strong physical structures constrain it.
A stream constrained by linear hard banks
develops large vertical sinuosities undercuts
the banks. A flat, hardened bottom will
enlarge horizontal sinuosities reach laterally
erode riparian materials. Constraining both sides
and bottom builds up momentum and kinetic
energy manifests intensified turbulence
downstream Sooner or later the self-organizing
turbulence of a flowing stream breaks down
Published online July 19 2016.
Poet and essayist Maureen Scott Harris is the author of three books of poetry: A Possible Landscape (Brick Books), Drowning Lessons (Pedlar Press), which won the 2005 Trillium Book Award for Poetry, and Slow Curve Out (Pedlar Press), shortlisted for the 2012 League of Canadian Poets Pat Lowther Award. Waters Remembered, a chapbook, will be published by paperplates in fall 2016.