M A R K  B A R D S L E Y

There has never been a time when we didn't need to connect with the natural world,
more so now than ever. When I write serious poems I am always seeking that connection
and not just with nature, but also in the layers and stories that humanity has superimposed
causing nature to bend, embrace or resist. Looking backwards allows us to inform our
forward motion so that our progess can be enlightened and not reckless.
Being an illustrator grants me an additional layer of meaning and as in the words I use,
I try to express just enough to make you reach for your coat and a pair of walking shoes.

Bloom Town is the first volume from a larger collection of poems set in Shropshire where I grew up.
The landscape is varied and has many havens for wildlife, still retaining
by the skin of its teeth, a wildness and antiquity that heal and inspire.

 water mill illustration and Bloom Town cover design linked to Yew Tree Press website for purchasing
Click anywhere on the images above to purchase a copy of Bloom Town from Yew Tree Press.

Daniel's Mill, shown above, sits beside a small brook above the river Severn a short way from the Town of Bridgnorth.
The brick viaduct carries the Severn Valley Railway and it's evocative collection of classic locomotives.

The cover design was inspired by the pre-raphaelite tiles on the floor of St Mary's Church in Shrewsbury.
I decided to use a rampion bellflower - campanula rapunculus - also called rapunzel, which fitted
with the mention of the fairy tale character in my other Bridgnorth poem,'Funicular'.

Flounders'Folly tower in autumn with the accompanying poem as part of the artwork

The stone tower at the western end of Wenlock Edge was commissioned by Benjamin Flounders in 1838.
The views from it's battlement take in Wenlock Edge and the Wrekin Hill, the Stretton hills and the vale of Ludlow.

the poem Dawley Mon is part of the artwork here which features a stone block with quarryman's tools

The small town of Dawley near the sprawl of modern Telford is only a couple of miles from Ironbridge.
The people of Dawley played their part in this hive of innovation and industry, and my friend Jack was one of them.

Grey wagtail in front of the waterfall at Badger Dingle, poem,'Badger' is part of the artwork here

The village of Badger is on the Eastern side of Shropshire and hides a long hollow known as Badger Dingle.
In the late 1700s the dingle was enhanced as a decorative landscape adjoining Badger Hall - demolished in the 1950s.
In recent years the site has seen some restoration and an increase in footfall, but it remains an oasis for wildlife.

cormorant with outstretched wings, an illustration from the poem, A Tale of Leaves