Haibun is short prose with haiku poems mixed in. It often has a light and humorous tone and imagistic descriptions of beauty.
The word roughly translates as 'haiku prose',they can be journals, diaries or descriptive sketches. Here is an excerpt from a famous example by Basho that is titled 'Narrow road to the Interior.'
Last year I spent wandering along the seacoast. In autumn I returned to my cottage on the river and swept away the cobwebs. Gradually the year drew to its close. When spring came and there was mist in the air, I thought of crossing the Barrier of Shirakawa into Oku. I seemed to be possessed by the spirits of wanderlust, and they all but deprived me of my senses. The guardian spirits of the road beckoned, and I could not settle down to work.
I patched my torn trousers and changed the cord on my bamboo hat. To strengthen my legs for the journey I had moxa burned on my shins. By then I could think of nothing but the moon at Matsushima. When I sold my cottage and moved to Sampū’s villa, to stay until I started on my journey, I hung this poem on a post in my hut:
Even a thatched hut
May change with a new owner
Into a doll’s house.
This became the first of an eight-verse sequence
Few writers in the west have attempted anything like it, but Jack Kerouac came close with his more experimental work.