A Coming of Storms
Les M. Brown
~48 pages, $13 (+ shipping)
Projected Release Date: July/August, 2024
An Advance Sale Discount price of $7.50 (+ shipping) is available HERE prior to press time. This price is not available anywhere else or by check. The check price is $11.50/book (which includes shipping & sales tax) and should be sent to: Main Street Rag, 4416 Shea Lane, Mint Hill, NC 28227.
PLEASE NOTE: Ordering in advance of the release date entitles the buyer to a discount. It does not mean the book will ship before the date posted above and the price only applies to copies ordered through the Main Street Rag Online Bookstore.
Les Brown grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. He earned his Ph.D. in biology at the University of Mississippi, Hattiesburg and is Professor Emeritus of Gardner-Webb University. His stories and visual art have appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Moonshine Review, and Kakalak. His poetry is in journals such as Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, The Main Street Rag, and Still: The Journal. A Pushcart Nominee, and winner of the Poet Laureate Award of the NCPS, Les lives in Troutman, NC. His chapbooks, A Place Where Trees Had Names, (2020), Cold Forge (2022), and his short story collection, Iron Bridge Sunday (2024) are published by Redhawk Publications.
Les Brown pays loving tribute to the land and sky—and sounds a warning. In gorgeous images, Brown, a scientist-poet, describes the drama of thunderstorms in the North Carolina mountains: “Distant clouds swell, becoming sky-foam / mound, mount, rise, push against / the stratosphere” (“Scarecrow”). He also alerts us to the approaching storms of climate catastrophe. Brown’s lyrical poetry weaves his love of the natural world with his passion to preserve its grandeur. ~Joan Barasovska
Les Brown’s A Coming of Storms is a love letter to the natural world, an elegy for what we’ve lost, and a warning for what is still at stake. Brown’s lyrical poetry and lush descriptions of his Blue Ridge Mountain childhood make this much more than just a distress call for our times, and readers are bound to see their own lost world and yearn to save what remains. ~Steve Cushman, author of How Birds Fly & The Last Time
Sun blazes on a southern county road
where early summer’s heat radiates
from every surface. Asphalt lakes
shimmer ahead between blue-green
crowded cornfields. Stalks stand twisted
like old men wrapped in tight winter coats.
Deepening drought drives worms
and roots downward, following the
dark dampness, receding, yielding
to dry, hot earth and hazy sky above.
Insensible vapor will turn to dew
when the torrid sun sets and night falls.
clouds swell, sky-foam, mound,
rise, push against the stratosphere.
They flatten, anvil-like, where high winds
sheer off ice-crystalline billowy vapor,
harbinger of spiraling squalls tear straw,
tatter shirts from farmers’ wooden crosses.
Watching the Storm Beyond My Window
Outside my window a hammered
steel sky cries through thunderous
blows where brilliant tendrils light
wetting leaves. Roots drink rain shaken
from the anvil of heaven. Violent
stars shine above in the forge of space.
How thin my window refuge
against such power unfolding
where fragile flowers bloom,
babies nurse at mothers’ breasts,
Where delicate lace-veined butterfly
wings spread from chrysalises.
Payne’s Gray horizon foretells the storm
charging into the pale blue summer sky
lifting ground-warmed wet air.
Vapor condenses into silver lined nimbus,
belies the shock and power within
where freezing vapor cycles, falls.
Storm cloud spirals to gouge the earth’s
dust, turns blue sky to deep ochre,
rips both foliage and structures
into a funnel of odd beauty and awe
while we wait within the fragile shelter
that we trust will not fail in the fury
that rumbles the earth like a sky train
headed toward the dimming auburn sun,
like Turner’s Sea Wreck.
It passes with funneled cochlear assault
shaking fragile neurons and solid bone
within our skin-encased shell of trust.
It rumbles on, leaving
a widening Doppler wake of waves
and dimming decibels from the din
of ice upon the landscape, battered, stripped,
ripped and pocked, covered with white
hail melting to red rivulets.
Growing trickles join again,
wash away ravaged land and random
rubble of human order while sky-blue returns
and Kodachrome light
blazes beneath the dark sky
illuminating a twisted chaos.