James Merrill wrote a haibun sequence called Prose of Departure, about a visit to Japan, and a dying friend back in the states. The sequence is dedicated to Donald Richie, whom he visited. Here is one of the haibun:
Narrow streets, lined with pots: wistaria, clematis, bamboo. (Can that be syringa-- with red
blossoms?) Shrines begin. A shopkeeper says good day. Three flights up in the one ugly building for block around, Donald welcomes us to his bit of the planet. Two midget rooms, utilitarian alcoves, not trace of clutter. What he has is what you see, and includeds the resolve to get rid of things already absorbed. Books, records. His lovers he keeps, but as friends-- friends take up no space. He now paints at night. Some canvases big as get-well cards bedeck a wall. Before we leave he will give the nicest of these to Peter.. .
What are we seeing? Homages to Gris, Cornell, Hokusai, Maxfield Parrish. Three masters of compression and one of maple syrup. Without their example, whe mightn't his own work have gone? (Would he have painted at all?) As for his album of lovers, without the archetypal Uncle Kenny to seek throughout the world, who mightn't he have loved? And what if he hadn't settled in Japan forty years ago? Living here has skimmed from his features the self-pity, cynicism and greed which sour his Doppelgänger in that all too imaginable jolly corner of Ohio.. .
Later-- stopping first at a bookstore to buy what they have of Donald's in stock-- we proceed to the projection room, where at our instigation wer are to be shown six of his films. No clutter about them either. The program is over in just ninety minutes. What have we seen? . . . . .
Boy maybe eighteen . . . . .
bent over snapshots while his . . . . .
cat licks itself clean. . . . . .
Naked girl, leading . . . . .
suitors a merry chase: she'll . . . . .
leave them stripped, bleeding--
this last to courtly music by Rameau. And finally . . . . .
a dead youth. the shore's . . . . .
gray, smooth, chill curve. His flesh a . . . . .
single fly explores.
-- from Prose of Departure, in The Inner Room
One of the films referred to is on YouTube: Boy with a Cat (1966)