The Cloaked Monk’s,, MarchChallenge prompt for the 23rd is, “Bread.” Bread for me was an impossible prompt. Absolutely nothing came to mind. Because I did not want to just skip a day of the challenge, I used everything in my bag of tricks

First, put on some music to give me a background rhythm. I do this most of the times I write poetry, even if I’m not planning to used a metered rhythm.

Then I checked with my muse. She is apparently passed out drunk—nothing there.

Next, I built a mind map as described in liv2write2day’s Wordsmith Wednesday’s Brainstorming Techniques; however, I use a free program, FreeMind, I downloaded to actually create my mind maps. Using the mind map, I generated 53 meaningful associations between me and ‘bread.’

Because my mind map contained some phrases, like “Man does not live on bread alone,” I went to my favorite quotes site,, ran the word ‘bread’ in the search feature and then read the results of the first 50 to 70 quotes.

I went through all of this in an attempt to make the switch from the left brain (logic) to right brain (creativity), which I can almost always do. In the wonderful book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards (I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to experiment with making that left/right switch), she gives several visual (drawing) methods of achieving this goal. I found I loved the sensation when I got there after studying her book; music becomes a visual experience, words explode with clarity and meaning and all sense of time is lost.

For my final step, I opened another free program I had downloaded from the internet called VersePerfect I like VersePerfect for editing difficult poems. It has tools to supply alternative words, and that comes in handy.

In this case, after all that preparation, I fixated on one lousy word from my mind map: aroma. Using it, I created, Another Entrance to Heaven. I’m glad I was in VersePerfect because during the writing/editing process, I probable made 50 changes within fifteen lines of verse. Just as I was finishing, Sandy asked me if I was going to eat lunch. Somewhere, I lost the best part of two hours.

This was probably not the best example to illustrate my process on difficult prompts. If Another Entrance to Heaven were to be entered in a poetry contest, it would not rate above a thank-you-for-entering letter.

by Mike Patrick

Flickr image by doitsunosensei

In the early morning splendor,
as the sun fights to rise,
a gentle aroma softly wafts
through night’s lingering fog.
Unbidden, my steps turn,
pulling me ever closer
to a smell belonging somewhere
behind the gates of heavens.

The sounds of hurried heels
clicking along the cobblestones
lead unfalteringly to the
answered promise of manna.
Ahead, glowing in the rising sun,
the goal all seek quietly beckons.
Behind a window with an “open” sign
the bakery awaits its hungry horde.

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  1. This works perfectly for the prompt, the smell of hot, fresh bread is equisite!

  2. Mike, what a great poem. And thanks for the pingbacks. I always look forward to your posts.

  3. Becca Givens says:

    Deee – lightful!! Thank you for the scenario and background of writing this … I learn something new from you and liv2write2day … first VersePerfect and now FreeMind. I am off to check it out … thanks for sharing ~becca

  4. earlybird says:

    I agree, the scent of fresh bread really is heavenly. I very much enjoyed reading your ‘process’ too.

  5. Mike, by the time I’d finished reading your marvellous process notes I had tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks. I don’t know what I expected of the poem, but it certainly wasn’t the polished gem that I have just read three times.

  6. vivinfrance says:

    And my previous comment disappeared: I said something like: when I’d finished reading your process notes, I was wiping tears of laughter from my cheeks. The wonderful poem was a complete surprise after all the preamble, so I had the pleasure of both. Thank you.

  7. honeyhaiku says:

    Bravo! This is lovely and such imagery. (I think you know about bread), enough to know there would be a horde gathering at the bakery!

  8. ladynimue says:

    This was pretty sweet !
    Thanks for detailing the process. Will check some of the tools 🙂

  9. Pingback: March 23: Bread | Cloaked Monk's Blog

  10. therummaker says:

    lots of tools used. Thanks for sharing that. I will check some myself. Awesome post. Liked it very much

  11. trisha says:

    terrific post mike, as always. you wrote it when your muse was knocked out? wow! loved the poem very much. i love the aroma of bread being baked, freshly baked breads (even though i dont eat bread).


  12. dani says:

    perfect for the prompt!

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