Black Ven Poetry

Sarah at Cyprus Well, Lanson

what is black ven?

Firstly a huge mudslide. Mass of cliff. Blue lias clay layers. The dark place where ammonites wake after millions of years…transformed to stone…snakestone once known as…shifting moving landflow between Charmouth and Lyme…underwater later and very slippery.

what is black ven poetry?

Landscape poet, creative project facilitator, writer of oral histories and playwright, sometimes as Black Ven. Mostly outdoor walks, workshops, retreats and creative social engagement projects that invite active participation (in small or large numbers) in response to site/place or nature and seasonal themes. But in all of this, I’m interested in language and process towards generative change and personal growth, and all things relating to deepening connection to the land. My writing is always drafted outdoors to start with, and I’m currently writing a community play about Portland stone quarries, Heart of Stone.

Projects (creative facilitator)

Project work with local museums, libraries, schools and memory cafes to encourage engagement with nature outdoors, and to guide and encourage the river of poetry within us all through creative prompts and artistic confidence to play, to find creative expression and inspire liberation and freedom to speak and write without fear of the unknown within and without. Disrupting creative blockages, and building confidence in creative writing and poetry, together with time spent outside in nature, shifts energy, break the chains that bind potential, and transforms.


A wanderer over many miles. My writing explores the journey of the heart in its quest to find a way home; always tracking the sundial shadow of belonging and love, venturing a course towards true north. Learning  the ways of the seafarer.

Meanwhile as I study (artists, thinkers, storytellers and poets) to remember what it is to be human in a more than human world, to honour dead languages and sleeping warriors, lost species and old names. Silence and listening. Listening for the music that carves beauty from chaos in its reverberation, and combs the mundane from the everyday in trembling dawns of birdsong. Certainly I find solitude in rock and stone, read and attend the teachings of live and dead poets, stories and myths, sit at the feet of great trees, navigate by the sky-dictionary of clouds and winds.

This is what I believe: I am for writing and activism that serves with humility and beauty, crafted for the purpose of sharing, healing, teaching and tendering fierce boundless kindness and love to the earth, community and self. I am for creative process as an essential means of communication and expression in the deep “heart-work” (Rilke*) that connects us to what really matters, especially now.

So somewhere there is always hope, somewhere there is a always kingdom to defend, a battled-sword with a big story to tell, and a star to navigate by. And love. And love. And love.

A Ritual to Read to Each Other, William Stafford

“And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give—yes or no, or maybe—
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.”


Sarah Acton, April 2019/ updated Feb 2022

*“The work of the eyes is done. Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.”  (Rainer Maria Rilke)


Heart of Stone Portland Players and professional team 2021

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