Haibun is the term Basho coined for the combination of poetic prose and haiku he used to describe his travels, both in the outer world and within his own mind.
Travelling was a way of life for Basho. He described himself as a wayfarer and the journeys he makes are spiritual as well as physical.
let that be my name
– the first winter rain
The translator and author Sam Hamill writes of Basho’s wanderings:- “His journey is a pilgrimage; it is a journey into the interior of the self as much as a travelogue; it is a vision quest which concludes in insight. But there is no conclusion. The journey itself is home. The means is the end just as it is the beginning.”
Kyoto journal – Basho’s Ghost
Following in the footsteps of the Basho the contemporary haibun writer can use the form to describe journeys of all kinds. The form lends itself to explorations of interiority.