The Poetry of Essential Humanness

Poetry is her passion, and walking sticks are her constant companion. But not just any walking stick will do, not for this native Texan. Truth is, poet Karla K. Morton loves all things Texan: boots, pickup trucks, dusty trails, lush vegetation, outdoor adventures, and, of course, Brazos Walking Sticks.

“I am an avid fan of Brazos Walking Sticks,” exclaimed Karla. “I always, always carry one with me during my travels, my favorite one having my initials, kk, carved into it!”

ironwood walking stick and karla
Karla K Morton with her beloved Freeform Ironwood Walking Stick.

In 2010 Karla was honored by the State of Texas as the 2010 Texas Poet Laureate, a distinction that recognizes her creative prose and cultural contribution to the Lone Star State. As an ambassador for poetic art, Karla has been featured extensively in news and media outlets including NPR, ABC News, and CBS News, to name a few. She has published nine books of her poetry, with the latest being Constant State of Leaping (Texas Review Press).

Not surprisingly, her passion for walking sticks shows up periodically in her poetry.

I will sit for a while, my forehead against my staff,
With a song of sadness only the frogs can understand

– Excerpt from “A Song of Leaving”

“Wooden walking sticks are a crucial part of man’s history – used for protection, security, depth finders in holes and streams, etc.,” Karla explained. “Wooden sticks are ancient and noble, almost becoming extensions of our human limbs.”

She would know about the many uses of a faithful walking stick, as she’s logged many miles with her staff (“To Texas and Beyond!”). Indeed, her Brazos Walking Stick has been by her side through many adventures, both serene and daring.

Occasionally, Karla’s drive to wander among the flora and the fauna — to push the boundaries, to follow her cat-like curiosity, to see what’s just around the next bend — has forced her to face the reality of nature, beautiful yet cold, and to muster courage in the face of natural adversity.

Terrified, I called out to God,
then waited . . .
but . . . Sun didn’t stop its plummet,
moccasins didn’t slither away,
spiders didn’t burst into flame . . .

Sometimes the nature that must be changed is ours.

And in the golden hour of my faith,
I charged forth, my walking stick, a rod
blessing each step;

– Excerpt from “Feral”

Karla’s poetic prowess spans various subjects and genres, but, ultimately, she writes about love, hope, and the natural beauty that is all around us.

And still I walk by, searching that green maze
for fresh signs of discovery, smiling
at the strangely intimate secret I

share with the earth, and the rain, and the snails;
bewildered at the treasures of childhood
so impulsively tossed aside — that great
gift of play that lies rusting in the dark.

– Excerpt from “Secrets of the Ivy”

“I tend to be a poet of moments,” she said. “Those tiny experiences that would be overlooked, but are so essential to our humanness.”

Perhaps something as simple as a sapling has a deeper, more profound resonance when examined through the eyes of our “essential humanness.”

Or maybe that’s a poem that is yet to be written, a path that is yet to be walked.