Haizara-cho, Japanese Poetry Community

Haizara-Cho (灰皿町, Ashtray Town) is a Japanese online poetry community run by poet Rinzo Shimizu. This site covers all range of articles related to poetry and art such as poems, reviews, essays, blogs, poetry recordings and photographs, mainly posted by the members. Each of these members owns their house in this virtual town, as you see from the home page. This site also provides Social Networking Site (SNS) and Bulletin Board System (BBS), serving as a communication lounge for poets.

One of the recent updates is the Uroko Anthology (うろこアンソロジー), which showcases poems submitted to Haizara-cho at every year-end since 2000.

Although this is all in Japanese, you can find a variety of visual stuff – so just try and click those pages!

Haizara-cho covered in snow...

Haizara-cho covered in snow…



On the night
that I was born,
the bells rang out
across the world.

In Coventry, in Dresden,
the cathedral bones sheltered
worshippers with candles,
witnessing the ruins.

In Auschwitz-Birkenau,
the story goes,
the death’s-head guards
sang, “Stille nacht,

heilige nacht”. Their voices
slid across the Polish snow.
The sweetest tenor was Ukrainian,
the man they called Peter the Silent.

He never spoke and he killed
with a lead-filled stick.
In the Union Factory, packing shells,
they dreamed of Moses.


In Horton Kirby, fields froze
and ice deadlocked the lanes.
My father rose in the cold
blue-before-dawn light

and cycled sideways,
wreathed in silver mist,
to the hospital. Each turn
of the track betrayed him

and scarred by thorns and gravel,
he bled by our bedside.
My mother laughed, she remembers,
as the nurse administered.

“Been in the wars?” she asked.
Outside, across the Weald,
from out of a cloudless dawn
the buzz bombs crumpled London.

Outside a town in the Ardennes
Private Taunitz hung
like a crippled kite
high in a tree.

A cruciform against the sky,
he seemed to run forever
through the branches,
running home for the new year.

Outside Budapest three men
diced for roubles
in the shelter of a tank.
Fitful rain, a moonless night.

Sasha struck a match
across the red star
on his helmet, the red star
that led them to this place.

Extra vodka, extra cigarettes,
a rabbit stewed,
the tolling of artillery
to celebrate the day.


The blackouts drawn,
December light invaded.
We awoke, slapped hard
by the early world.

Our siren voices
climbed into the morning,
a choir of outrage,
insect-thin but passionate.

Through tears our parents
smiled: within the song
of our despair they heard
a different tune.

And as our voices
sucked the air, swallowing
the grumble of the bombs,
only the bells survived.

Dick Jones
(from ‘Ancient Lights’, Phoenicia Publishing)

Santa Claus Exposed

I bring you words of warning
About a sainted man
Whose colourful adorning
Conceals a hidden plan.

Transform the name of SANTA,
Transposed by his elves,
And see old SATAN canter.
The CLAUS speak for themselves.

The robed buffoon’s a bluffer;
His hood hides horns, his boot
A hoof, his breeches cover
A tail and, they repute…

Those ruddy cheeks have basked by
Infernal flames and sparks.
His black goatee is masked by
The beard of Grandpa Marx.

His home lies in the circles
Where bears and reindeer dwell;
Deep under Iceland’s joekulls
Old Nick holds court in hell.

On Christmas Eve the Father
Of Lies yokes up his beasts.
He flogs them to a lather
And flies off to the feasts.

Lucifer’s car is loaded
With sacks of rats and toads
And drawn by serpents goaded
Along the airy roads.

About him, demons beckon
Out of the storm-swept sky.
On earth, late travellers reckon
The Wild Hunt’s hurtling by.

If in a house the Devil
Should guzzling grown-ups glimpse,
Unto their Christmas revel
He’ll send his horny imps.

The ‘saint’ fills children’s stockings
With wriggling toads and rats,
Transmutes them into mockings
Of dolls and cricket bats.

In bulging bags he’s hoarded
The souls of girls and boys,
But they are well rewarded
With electronic toys.

Behold the red fiend reeling –
They sound the midnight bell.
Before its final pealing
He must flee back to hell.

Of course I speak in banter,
A faithful atheist.
Bah! Satanas and Santa –
Thank God they don’t exist!

I wrote this humorous Christmas poem 23 years ago, but it has never had a wide airing. Please pronounce ‘transposed’ as 3 syllables.


A tiny flake of it,
minute as a poppy seed,
is shining green
on my sullen face.
It may have come off
from a Christmas bauble
made in China
or a card
sent from Canada.
I try to brush it off
with my fingers
but it only travels
across my cheek.
It’s now stranded
under my mole.

Yuko Minamikawa Adams


This started as a totem poem, as per the recent workshop prompt. But following a trending item on Facebook about a radiophonic phenomenon called ‘chorus’ (explained by clicking on the title link), it morphed into this. Further key data is available via first this link and then this one.


this is Golf 4
Foxtrot Hotel Romeo
::: :::
unkey and float
your silence in the black
buoyancy of earthsong
plasma waves running
the spindrift of the radiation belt
hooting and skirling like
cosmic birds
listen through their wheeling and flocking
for that crouching island sentinel who’s listening too
through their wheeling and flocking
for one such voice as yours calling up the skywave
into the dawn
::: :::
this is Golf 4 Fox Hotel Radio
G4 FHR calling
and listening
::: :::
unkey and close your eyes
whistling electrons are
running the hoop of the earth
riding the chorus pipeline
through the van allens
tether breath and listen
to the whorl and whoop
of the great unmodulated voice
laughing out of nothingness
and back into an oblivion
unpolluted by your kind
slinging their prayers
across the ether
seeking witness
in their solitude
::: :::
and so you tether
until there’s only the sussuration
of your breathing and
the coil and arc
of that first

Dick Jones

Poetry reading in Tokyo

A Poetry ID member Yuko Minamikawa Adams is going to read her Japanese poems with her poetry friends in Tokyo:

Sunday, 18th November 2012

2.30pm for 3pm starts

Cafe Lavanderia Koyosha Bldg. 1F, 2 – 12 – 9 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan (See the map).

Yuko Minamikawa Adams, Maki Kitazume, Kanako Ura, Misako Yarita and guests.

Kaze no Roudokukai


This is my in absentia response to Gareth’s Totem Pole workshop:


Each face I carve will tell

a small part of the story.

Each animal will represent

a portion of the whole.

Each nose, each eye, each painted cheek

create a collage of confusion,

erected as a presentation

just for you.

It’s quite an ugly thing,

a mashed-up montage, formed of

half-ideas, splinters of memory,

in-jokes, unfulfilled ambition,

lips that are too big, birds with beaks

and wings out of proportion,

from some creepy animation,

drawn for you.

I didn’t mean to carve the pole this way:

it just grew out of what I am,

and all its inconsistencies

are reaching up to guide your eyes

towards the sky – above this bleak

and unforgiving apparition:

my carved, complex creation,

made for you.