The Woman in White-a review of a 19th Century Classic in the 21st Century


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THE WOMAN IN WHITE cover, from an 1890 printing

Source: Cover art 1889 Chatto & Windus yellowback [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Copyright by Flora Breen Robison


This review was originally published last year on another website. Because the way that mothers raise their children-or don’t raise their children – in this book before the characters became adults bares a heavy weight to the way the characters behave and the actions taken by certain characters- I am choosing to republish this review on my own blog on this Mother’s Day 2012.



Revisting a Classic Gothic Mystery

Wilkie Collins was a prolific writer from the 19th Century who is best remembered today for writing two iconic mysteries :The Moonstone (1868) and The Woman in White (1860). The Woman in White is one of the longest mysteries ever written and is full of evil men-and women;long-suffering women; nineteenth century mores; terror and suspense; subterfuge; double lives; secrets; mistaken identity; fraud; pain; attempted murder; courage; faith; strength, and patience. At its core is a trio of characters who love each other and gain courage and strength from their love and patience.

In reading anything from an earlier century, never mind from an earlier era than you were born in general, you must approach it from what was known or accepted in that society. You cannot properly appreciate a 19th Century book, particularily a Gothic mystery, from the perspective of the 21st Century-or the 20th Century when I first read the The Woman in White. You will just end up being angry, depressed, or insulted. How dare you talk that way to your wife, daughter, sister, etc. like that! No, don’t you dare say “I am only a woman.” I don’t care if you promised your dying father you would marry this man, you don’t love him and he is just after your money. Who says you cannot marry above your station. Women have the right to speak their minds. No, the man doesn’t have the last word. Women shouldn’t be expected to be weak or fragile if they want to get married. They shouldn’t be expected to be shy, quiet, or reserved if they want to be accepted into society. I was unable to accept this when I first attempted to read The Woman in White. As a result, I skimmed over several passages that made my blood boil and didn’t finish it. The second attempt was better. I spent much of time still feeling the earlier responses to the events in the book, but I read everything instead of skimming, and I finished the book.

I first read this classic title as a teenager. From an early age I decided I wanted to read all famous and critically acclaimed mystery titles-even if they were not in my favourite sub-genre of Murder Most Cosy-before I die. I read The Moonstone before I read The Woman in White-I loved it and expected to love The Woman in White as well. After all, Wilkie Collins insisted that the transcription on his tombstone reference the fact that he was the author of The Woman in White. He must have been prouder of that novel than he was of The Moonstone. The same love for The Woman in White that I felt for The Moonstone didn’t materialize for me.The problem for me was that there is a degree of evilness in The Woman in White that is quite strong and permeates every entry of the originally serialized mystery. There wasn’t much evil at all in The Moonstone.

In regards to my problem with The Woman in White: It is not enough to point out that in the 19th century, women and men had strict roles in society, people had strict roles according to class, or that people were expected to marry within their own class, and that is your lot in life. After all, Jane Austin is a highly popular author who wrote of the same society. Her characters dealt with the same mores. But Austin’s books were romances where everything turns out for the best for all the honorable characters in the novel. You know that whatever pain and suffering the heroines face will be rewarded in the end. So you put up with characters taught to expect to be poor and stay poor, to have their marriages arranged or at least have their fiances approved by their parents before an engagement is announced, women having limited choices, women having fewer rights than men, women being seen as the weaker sex, and so forth. You know the book ends happily for the main characters.

Eventual happiness of any honorable character is never sure in any Gothic mystery. Some Gothic literature does end up happily most of the time-this is known as Gothic Romance. There are several elements that these sub-genres of Gothic literature share. These include stormy weather, castles, ghosts, and women who faint. And there is often some degree of romance in Gothic mysteries. This is true in The Woman in White as Hartright and Laura are deeply in love, despite their difference in class and her engagement and marriage to Sir Percival Glyde. But these are separate sub-genres. Murder and tragedy are always hovering in a Gothic mystery, and characters that appear sinister are usually sinister in reality.

In fact, there is a high likelihood that honorable characters will end up dead or scarred for life-physically or emotionally- either through violence, sickness, or misadventure. Not to mention the fact that it is quite possible that at least one of the evil characters will either remain unpunished totally, or will get less punishment than befits the crime committed. And in The Woman in White, much of these worst case scenarios either come true,or are just narrowly avoided. Without giving away the eventual fates of any one the characters by name to anyone who has never read the book before, here is a rundown of *some* of the tragedy and horror of The Woman in White:

– A young woman is locked up in an asylum to protect a secret

-A woman nearly dies of pneumonia

-The likeness between two women is exploited to commit a fraud and potential murder

-An evil mastermind is wonderfully charming and gets away with virtually everything as a result

-Not all of the evil characters are men

-the gentle, happy, and intelligent nature of a young woman is shattered,likely beyond repair even is she does survive


I recently reread The Woman in White as part of a book club that focuses on mysteries. It had been over ten years since I had last read it. I might not have read it again otherwise, while I do plan on rereading The Moonstone from time to time. I’m older now, and put up with the issue of social mores of the 19th Century. But I still get angry with the evilness in this book and I had to read only a half hour at a time and then cool down. No chance of starting it one morning on a Saturday and finishing by that night. That is something I often do with my favourite authors. I admire The Woman in White greatly. It is well written, the story is tight, the mystery well planned, and it contains a great shock regarding a trick the author plays on the reader. Unfortunately, I admire The Woman in White more than I enjoy it.


Gothic Mystery Elements in The Woman in White

Gothic Element
Present in The Woman in White?
Large, lonely castle or mansion
Yes, more than one
Ghosts real or faked
Not needed as there is enough terror from real characters
Secret Passages
Not a factor in the mystery, although there are plenty of locked rooms and an asylum
Weak women who are dominated by powerful sometimes dangerous men
Definitely, although some women are stronger than others
Women who faint, cry, scream
Two of the women are quite fragile and there is illness and dispair
Stormy Weather
Yes, in fact one woman becomes extremely ill as a result
The Metonomy of Gloom and Horror
Several: approaching footsteps, squeeky hinges, storms, creeky steps
Especially in the title character
Sinister characters
Several, both male and female
Ancient Prophesies
High, strong emotions such as terror or hatred
Quite prominent

Main Characters in The Woman in White

Walter Hartright

Laura Fairlie

Marion Halcombe

Sir Percival Glyde

Count Fosco

Countess Fosco

Frederick Fairlie

Anne Catherick




Wilkie Collins Pages




Vinaya Ghimire’s Interview With Me On Cyberbullying on Hubpages


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Here I am With My Tabby Cat-I spent far too little time with her while I was fretting about Hubpages

Source: Flora Breen Robison 


Vinaya Ghimire interviewed me twice this year. The first time he interviewed me was for my writing and music as well as my thoughts on online writing. Originally intended for Hubpages, he published it on Wizzley, the website where I now publish. 

Next he interviewed me on my experience being cyber-bullied while I was on Hubpages, and how I eventually was banned there. He wanted to publish this interview on Wizzley too and tried to do do, but it was un-published and locked out from the website because they believe it should only be published on a personal blog. Therefore, I talked it over with Vinaya, and I have decided to publish it on my own personal blog. 


After the break, you will find the whole of the interview with Mr. Ghimere, my friend and an excellent interviewer. 




Copyright Vinaya Ghimere and Flora Breen Robison  2012



A True Account of Cyberbully on HubPages

Online writer Flora Breen Robison talks about how she was banned on HubPages and how she was able to move her contents from HubPages to Wizzley.

Flora Breen Robison is a writer, a poet and an artist. Prior to writing on Wizzley, Flora published her works on HubPages. In this interview with Vinaya Ghimire, she talks about her HubPages experience and shares her trauma associated with Cyberbully on HubPages. She gives her side of story on being banned on HubPages. Flora also explains how she was able to move her online contents from HubPages to Wizzley.  


You were doing wonderful on HubPages, what made them ban you?

What eventually banned me was far removed from the original problem I had. I had no troubles at all until December 2011 – six months into my time on HubPages. Even then, there was no way to tell what would happen. I got into a forum argument with a friend of mine over bidding sites for writers and an article I had written about my asking people to not accept less than one cent per word when bidding. The friendship has since been restored, but the reason that this argument is the start of my story is that it brought me to the attention of the moderators on the site when I contacted them about what to do. Unfortunately, they didn’t respond to me until nearly a month later and I had to guess what to do when I had other disagreements – I guessed badly.

 I’ll skip the actual issue details I had until I get to the next question, but I will say that 2012 has been a nightmare from New Year’s Day on that site. In February, there were a lot of mental health awareness articles being written and because of the issues I had, I was reading them a lot and making comments about my own mental health as a result of the issues I was having – the comments I made were entirely related. But people I will discuss in the next question started flagging all my comments because they thought I was making passive aggressive comments about them rather than direct comments about me. Eventually they contacted me with an example that ironically was about me saying that I was unable to be truthful to someone and still avoid being misunderstood that honesty is the best policy. These were all referenced in the article itself. But for that specific comment to be the example used made me lose my temper.

 As I had been trying to discuss mental health – not fan mail (see next question) – I was told that authors cannot be made to delete comments but that if I wanted to avoid problems with others I should police myself. To think I wasn’t allowed to talk about my frustrations even on articles designed to discuss these topics was too much for me. I wrote a poem and published it explaining how all the authors who wrote articles with my comments must delete my comments because I had no free speech and detailing how one person had manipulated a whole bunch of people and I could prove it and I would not stand for it and gave examples. I then left a link to the hub on all the relevant author hubs. It was meant to be a creative way to tell people that the attitude of HubPages moderators was screw you if you are being bullied – you cannot expose people on this site even if it is true. It is true that often things can only be done until a bullied person has done something extreme that will then involve the police. Most bullied people don’t take this route, so I was put on probation. From then on, everything I published had to be approved by the moderators first – even poems about my cat. And since my cat was old and ill, I didn’t really want to write about her. Meanwhile, I love to write about any pain I feel so as to make the pain go away. That is my way of healing, and this avenue was no longer open to me since I had no control over my domain.

 I won’t go into any details about how I tried to get people to help me understand the exact details of what I was allowed to say in comments and what I wasn’t allowed to say, but I will say that I was never told exact details until late into my probation and the staff realized that I was feeling persecuted, unfortunately, too late for me as by then I wanted nothing else but to get away from people who were flagging me and I was getting nothing done except fretting over being flagged: one more flag and I would be banned.

 Another problem was that this happened on March 1st, the day that Youtube changed its policy on video links. That is what finally signaled my demise, not the comments or hubs I wrote. I ended up with a large number of links that were broken and needed to be fixed, all my poetry based on song titles were broken. I was overwhelmed. I decided to try and fix them all at once – I shouldn’t have bothered – and when I submitted them for approval, the moderators found a bunch of problems with photos and tags which had been there for months. This suggests to me that the moderators don’t read anything that hasn’t been flagged.

I had always referred to these poems as “Song-title Poetry” but they called that a deceptive tag and they didn’t like my photos either. I was frustrated with the time I would have to spend fixing them instead of looking for a new job, but it never occurred to me that these tags and photos would get me banned as lots of hubs would simply remain unpublished while the authors themselves were not banned. But I was submitting 25 of them in one day with no order as to when they were originally published. I was doing this by alphabetical order and I guess they decided that I should be punished for the tag earlier so why not now?

That is just I guess because I was never given an explanation and my account did remain open. My account would be closed, I had been told, based on comments I make being flagged. I simply went to the website after being offline for a few hours and found “Sorry, this user has been banned” on my profile page. Yet my account was still open and I was still in charge of my new Question and Answer domain. The ads were still on there and I can still ask questions after submitting them for approval. Therefore, it had to be the tags and photos.

The next day I discovered I was still being sent updates about hubs and forums I was following earlier and turned off the option to have staff contact me. After that, they were not allowed to contact me via HubPages.

 What were the issues you had with other members on HubPages?

I am interpreting this question as referring to why I was put on probation in the first place. Most of the people on HubPages were wonderful and not a problem. All it takes is one person and a bad reaction from you to make the experience horrible.

On January 1st I read an article by a person whom previously I had not paid any attention at all except for a couple of articles about fellow members. In it, she described how she felt hubbers could get more traffic. One item-one – stated that she felt we should not write depressing things as no one will want to read them. I wrote a response article – how I generally respond to articles rather than in comments on the hub – where I wrote about how we are not here to cheer people up and I need to write about my pain when I am hurting as this makes me heal. I write for me. I am not the only one who does this, and if you want to avoid reading me, fine. But don’t tell me I cannot write this. After the initial interest in the article, I promptly forgot about it and forgot what I had said in the comments section etc. what I did not realize that there was a high profile hubber who gets her spies to photograph everything so that if you delete it there is still proof.

I was asked in the comment section to describe hubs that I personally don’t love, but that it would never occur to me to tell the author not to write that type of hub because all I have to do is simply not read them. I think it was you, actually, that asked a follow-up question where my answer set off the person who would eventually get me put on probation – S625. I said, innocently I thought, in a throw away comment that I didn’t see the point in writing fan letters to famous people on HubPages because they would probably never read them on that site. They would be more likely to read them if you wrote to them personally via snail mail or their personal or fan-based website. This enraged her and she filed it away in her mind.

Meanwhile, I made a huge mistake I didn’t know I was making until it was too late. I joined a closed group on Facebook, in which this woman was a site administrator. Since it was a closed group, I didn’t know what was going on until I joined. People were encouraged not only to share the hubs of members only, but actively encouraged to share hubs of people who participated in the hub sharing. To do this properly would require hours unless you shared only the hubs of people who were the most active and therefore, in your mind all the time.

One of the people whose hub I shared calls herself TS on HubPages. I don’t know what she did to set S625 off and I don’t care anymore. I care about my own life. It is not my business, either. But as part of the way of S625 to get back at her she told TS about my article written on January 1st which TS had apparently never read. I was in the middle of writing an online resume for a job that I never did get because I ended up to upset to submit my resume on time. I had to check my email for information. I found a slew of emails in which I had been tagged from HubPages originating from a post TS made in which she called me a RAT and a PSYCHO – capital letters and all. From then on I was crying and totally unable to do anything.

After I was kicked out of the group without responding to this flaming war, TS left a scathing comment about me based on what S625 told about me and the friend of mine I mentioned above regarding bidding sites. I blocked her completely. I then got an email from S625 saying I had betrayed her and TS – this really confused me as I didn’t know TS at all rally except as someone I was supposed to share her hubs on the Facebook group.

 Although TS and I made up briefly via a mutual friend – she never did apologize of her own accord, something that should have been a red flag – she started to misread general comments I made about S625 without naming her as I was not allowed to do so and decided that she was being targeted. So I was once more plunged into fretting about TS flagging comments I make at 3am. No one else who knew the situation thought I was talking about anyone other than S625, including the woman on the bidding sites issue. Everyone knew what I meant, except Tammy. Again, this mutual friend tried all he could to calm her down and keep me on the site. All for naught as I was banned anyway for tags and photos.

If TS had stopped blocking me on social media sites after I was kicked off HubPages, I would have ignored her and moved on with my life with no thought of her as the issue. But she didn’t. And I realized what I should have realized all along. That if TS had not called me a rat or a psycho in the first place – however, much she was hurting at the time – I would have finished my resume on time. I may not have gotten the job anyway, but I was in no mental state from that time on to do anything online except worry about betting banned. As such, I find I blame TS more than I blame S625 now for the events on HubPages. Really. I have both of them blocked on all social media sites now. And when I told people that my feelings when I dropped a Facebook group because she joined, that they could stop following me if they objected, no one did. Most people are perfectly capable of being friends with people who cannot stand each other.

When you delete articles on a certain site and want to publish on another, there are lots of groundwork to do, such as removing the links from search engine database and removing web cache. How did you manage to move your contents from HubPages to Wizzley?

It’s a lot longer if you are trying to do this article by article, instead of your complete domain name as I did. The first thing you do is unpublish your articles, mine were automatically when I was banned. Normally you have to wait 3 weeks until the Google bot scans the web for your article and finds it doesn’t exist. However, I got help friend, a writer on HubPages, who told me how to speed up the process. You contact Google and get them to de-index your articles all at once. It takes 3 days at the most, often less time. That is what I did.

When I went to publish my first article on Wizzley, I got a message saying that it was detected as being on HP and I couldn’t publish it. I contacted the site administration as I was confused, and he assured me that the computer bot recognizes an unpublished article when it sees one and that the warning is generated automatically so it can indeed be published. I pressed publish and it was published.

 I still get reminders about content needing to be original, but I publish articles and there is not a problem.


Vinaya Ghimire



I’m Sure of the Young Rascals: A Lyrical Poem Based Upon Song Titles


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From Young Rascals To Rascals

The Young Rascals were a white American soul and rock band that reached the height of their popularity during the late 1960s. Formed in 1965, the four member band wrote their own music via the composing team of Eddie Brigati and Felix Cavaliere. Brigati was the lead singer. Cavaliere sang and played the keyboard. Gene Cornish played guitar and Dino Dinelli, the drums. Although he was not a member of the band and he didn’t appear with them, Brigati’s brother David-who was a member of the Starlighters-sang back-up on their recordings.

The Young Rascals as a core broke up in 1970 when Brigati left. Cornish left the group a year later. Cavaliere brought in new members, including two female singers. The revamped Rascals only lasted two years. The original band minus Brigati would occasionally reunite to perform with new members. They changed their name to The Rascals to reflect their getting older. There was a further version of the group under Cavaliere that didn’t last who went by the name The New Rascals or Cavaliere’s Rascals.


The following poem uses only song titles from the albums where the original core group were together. These  titles are primarily their greatest hits.


The Young Rascals Poem:

Once Upon A Dream, I dreamed of a world

That was perfect in every way.

In The Midnight Hour sleep brought me this gift.

Everybody was Groovin’ and relaxin’ in this peaceful world;

Everybody had Good Lovin’ in their family;

Everybody was free all over the world.

Then I woke up to the real world that exists.

I know that People Got To Be Free.

How Can I Be Sure that the world will change?

It won’t if we just sit still and keep quiet.

I Ain’t Gonna Eat My Heart Out No More

About what could be if I acted.

I will act-so that my dream becomes a reality.



The Young Rascals in 1966: The original members were still together until 1970

Source: Associated Booking Corporation via Wikimedia Commons aka Public Domain 

Why Do People Mistake The Difference Between Reality and Either Positivity or Negativity?


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Realism Means Neither Horrible Nor Fabulous


Reality is often not a wonderful existence. It not a horrible existence either. It simply means the way things are. Unfortunately, people don’t seem to understand this and often it takes an entire lifetime to learn the difference in particular of reality vs. negativity. Some people never do learn this difference. I have learned this recently in my own quest to find employment.

I want to be an independent person who can obtain a job without any help from anyone else. This comes from a history of me getting jobs through family members and sometimes wondering if I would have gotten the job at all without that help. The reality is that this does not happen in today’s society no matter who you are. This would be true even if I had not been born with cerebral palsy. Why can’t I learn this? Is 35 years old still that young? It would appear the answer to this is yes, even if I had children and been for years in a responsible position of being a parent.

In a related example, take the idea of people being created equal in the minds of non-prejudiced people. I refuse to allow a bigot in my home. Everyone has their own opinions and some politics in my city are such that if I avoided everyone who disagreed with me I would never see anyone. I simply avoid discussing topics that may be controversial. But when it comes to a boyfriend, yes it is important that I share the same opinions. So when I discovered the man I was dating was homophobic, I had to end the relationship while I continue to have friends who believe that gay marriages are not real marriages. In my private life, equality of all is vital.


When it comes to equality in the work force, people often equate reality with positivity. Because people deserve equal rights in life it therefore follows that this is true in all aspects of life including employment, yes? No. And if you believe that there is equality you may end up coming away with the idea you didn’t get a job because the other person was more qualified. The reality may be that you are a short person. Huh? Let me explain.

The idea of all men being created equal in the workforce is simply not true. If it were, then companies who employ people of all races, religions, abilities and ages would not need to identify themselves as equal opportunity employers. Everyone would hire everyone on qualifications alone. But they do need to identify themselves.

Let us totally ignore I have a disability for the moment and talk about the fact that I am a woman. In fact, let’s pretend that I have no disability at all.

For people who think all people are created equal in the workforce answer me this question:

Why are men and women not paid identical wages for the same type of work? I do not mean the fact that men are bigger and stronger and therefore can work certain occupations that women are not able to do. I am talking about the same wages for the same work. Historically speaking, men have always been paid higher wages than women. The difference gets smaller all the time, and there are actually more women who are employed today than men in some fields that are traditionally thought of as male. But they still get paid less than they would if they were men.


Other examples of this in the workforce when the qualifications are identical:

The company hires the taller person.

The company hires the younger person.

That doesn’t sound like all people are created equal to me.


If you want to feel good about yourself and be realistic about getting a job when you are unemployed, you must understand the difference between both reality and wishful thinking as well as reality and negativity.


Remember: Mary Tyler Moore lost out the chance to play the daughter of Danny Thomas because her nose doesn’t look like she could be related to Danny Thomas. It had nothing to do with her ability as an actress.Image

These leaves have frost on them in the winter. It is a necessary season.

Source: Public domain

Everybody Loves Dean Martin Sometimes: A Lyrical Poem Based Upon Song Titles


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Copyright by Flora Breen Robison

An Italian American Who Often Sang In Italian:

An Introduction and Explanation of How Dean Martin’s Music Inspired my Poem

Dean Martin was a legend of music, movies, television, and the Las Vegas Stage. He started his career as part of a comedy duo with Jerry Lewis. When the duo broke up, everyone thought that Dean Martin would fail as a solo artist. Instead, his career in movies and music soared. He later joined friends Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop in a group the Press called The Rat Pack on stage and on the big screen.

The press called and still call them The Rat Pack. But according to honorary member Shirley MacLaine, this second version of the Rat Pack was always referred to as The Clan by their own members. Apparently, though, they are the only people who referred to the group as The Clan. The Rat Pack to them was the original Rat Pack led by Humphrey Bogart and including Sinatra. They were a group of Hollywood actors and actresses who refused to take just any job offered to them in the studio system quietly.

One way in which Martin differed a lot as a recording artist from his pal Sinatra is his choice of language. There are a couple of songs that Sinatra sang partly in Italian-most notably Forget Domani-but he sang almost exclusively in English. So did a lot of other Italian Americans of his era. But Dean Martin was unique. He was Italian and sang in Italian-often. This is reflected in his song titles, especially those with place names. Every place name mentioned in the poem below is a Dean Martin song title-even Houston. Houston is a one word titled song Martin recorded. A large percentage of songs Dean Martin recorded are set in specific locations.

Martin recorded over 500 songs over his lifetime. He sang on film, on television-including on his self titled Variety Show where he ended shows with Everybody loves Somebody-and in Las Vegas. Some of his songs were specifically recorded for his shows in Vegas. I love Vegas is a reworking of the standard I Love Paris that he sang during The Rat Pack show at The Sands. It contained lines such as “I love Vegas like the Army loves its manuals. I love Vegas like Sinatra loves Jack Daniels.” Most of the songs he sang were love songs, however, and these love songs were usually happy love songs. Today, most love songs are about the pain of love. However, in the 40’s and 50’s, there were just as many love songs about love found as there were about love lost.

The Dean Martin Song

I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine;

It’s June In January when you are near me.

Powder Your Face With Sunshine because That’s Amore.

There will be no need for you to Return To Me

Or Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On,

Because we’ll never be apart again.

There will be no more Standing On The Corner

Somewhere in Houston all alone.

You and I will say “I Will” when we get married

In The Chapel In The Moonlight

On An Evening In Roma.

We’ll dance In The Misty Moonlight

To the tune “Besame Mucho,”

Because Memories Are Made Of This.

Then we will travel the world on our honeymoon.

Starting In Napoli, we’ll then visit France

Because I Love Paris. Then you’ll say:

“I Love Vegas” and we’ll dance the Cha Cha Cha D’Amour.

ImageDean Martin and Frank Sinatra perform together on The Dean Martin Show circa 1958

Source: Public Domain via NBC Television to Wikimedia Commons

The Eagles Aren’t Already Gone: a Lyrical Poem Based Upon Song Titles


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Copyright by Flora Breen Robison 


This poem was first written almost 8 months ago. The Eagles were a band I was listening to when Mom was pregnant with me. They had recently released their first greatest hit album and my parents were always listening to it. Although I have been a fan of The Eagles in general, I have always had a preference for songs from the first Greatest hits album. 

The poem is my own, with inspiration from song titles written by and recorded by The Eagles. I have capitalized The Eagles song titles so that readers unfamiliar with their entire career can identify their titles.


The Eagles Song: A Lyrical Poem


There is no need to Take It To the Limit

And live Life in the Fast Lane in a New York Minute.

I am not a Witchy Woman or one of the Pretty Little Maids In a Row

At Hotel California who is Already Gone.

You are no Desperado with a Heartache Tonight

After some Lyin’ Eyes took you for a ride.

I will give you The Best of My Love

Because I’m not The Girl From Yesterday.

It’s today, so Get Over It And Love Will Keep Us Alive.

In the morning we’ll watch the Tequila Sunrise

With a Peaceful Easy Feeling.

There will be no Wasted Time with me,

But I Can’t Tell You Why if you treat yourself

Like the New Kid in Town who feels alone.



The Eagles perform in 2008: Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmidt 

Photo source: Steve Alexander via Wikimedia Commons



The Miracles of Smokey Robinson: A Lyrical Poem Based on Song Titles


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Copyright by Flora Breen Robison 


I have written and continue to write a series of poems based upon the titles written by singer-songwriters  or recorded by groups who did not write their own music. Many were originally published on a different site in the past year, although some of these I wrote years ago.
The poems are my own but they are based upon song titles that were devised by other people. As such, I have always referred to them as Song-Title poems, although that is my own phrase. It describes the fact that I am creating my own poetry using the titles of famous songs as inspiration. These poems could be set to music, so they are also lyrical poems. Therefore, I will use the sub-title “a Lyrical Poem Based Upon Song titles” for all my poems of this type that I post on my own blog to distinguish them from other types of poems like acrostic poems, haiku, or couplets.


This first poem is based upon songs written by Smokey Robinson who has been both a singer-songwriter and a songwriter for other artists. Robinson is synonymous with Motown. His most famous song he wrote for The Temptations -“My Girl” which is my favourite song Robinson has composed. However, this poem will be based upon songs that he wrote originally to perform himself, not for others. Although he is usually thought of as a solo artist, he actually started out as as the head of the The Miracles. He continues to sing the songs he first made famous as the lead singer of this all male band. My favourite songs of his all come from this early period of his career. Therefore, the following poem is based primarily, although not entirely,  upon Robinson’s best hits with The Miracles. For the benefit of people who are unfamiliar with his entire career, I have capitalized the song-titles so all readers know what they are. 


Smokey Robinson’s Song of Miracles


The Tracks of My Tears mirror the tracks

Of The Tears Of A Clown. I frown

When you say you’ll Shop Around;

You behave like a Love Machine.

Ooo, Baby Baby stop Cruisin’ around,

Because You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me.

You say you plan Just To See Her

For a while-you smile and expect More Love

Than just one woman can give you.

Don’t expect me to say that I Second That Emotion.



Smokey Robinson performing in 2006

Photo Source: Dwight McCann via Wikimedia Commons



Acrostic Poems About Flowers Where The Acrostic Is Set In Different Locations


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I love to photograph, smell, and just be around beautiful flowers

Source: Flora Breen Robison 


Copyright by Flora Breen Robison 


During the month of April, the United States celebrated the National Month of Poetry. As part of that celebration, I published a poem a day on this blog for 30 poems total. Many of these in the latter half of the month were acrostic poems. All of these have lined up so the written word or phrase reads vertically downward from the left. This is the most simplest form of acrostic poem to write, as well as one of the most frequently written.I was asked by a member of ChimeIn whether the Acrostic had to spell out the subject matter of the poem and what was really meant by the term “Acrostic Poem.”


I was asked similar questions when I started publishing Acrostic Poems on HP and I wrote an article in response using flowers as a theme throughout the article. I am taking this opportunity to share this explanation of this poetry form.


There are Several Ways To Write Acrostic Poems

As I stated earlier, many acrostic poems are written vertically downward from the left. However, it is not necessary for the acrostics to be that easily read. Some can be quite complex by having the words in the middle of the line or the end of the line, or some combination of all three. Furthermore, though acrostics are often written in block form, they do not have to be written as a square or rectangle. The lines can be different lengths and thus create various shapes of acrostic poems. Not all websites allow you to change the shape of the lines unless you take a photograph of the finished poem and load that. For the purposes of this explanation, I will leave out shapes like  an hour glass or a cat as it is not necessary to do this as an introduction to the poetry form. 


Finally, you will notice that I always bold the letters spelling out the words  in my poems. Most poets do not do this because they want you to solve the puzzle yourself. But I like to bold mine so that my readers can enjoy my poems as poems as well as acrostics and not spend all of their time trying to figure out where the acrostic phrase is-especially if the lines are long  as I won’t know until the poem is published if ads or photographs will interfere with the way  I line up the poem  before it is published. 


First, here is a standard acrostic poem:



Red roses are the flowers

Every man will buy when

Desire is the theme that

Roses should convey.

Ordering pink roses will

Show that he is thinking

Everything is romance.

Send white roses to Mom.

Next, a poem where the acrostic is lined up in the middle of the poem:




February’s Flowers are violets

And the lily Lives at Easter time

Few bloom Orange in colour,

But purple, White and yellow are

Often seen Everywhere. Popular

Blooms are Roses, even if thorns

Are sharp.I Still love to smell them.



Next, a poem where the acrostic lines up on the right-hand side. The last letter in each line spells the acrostic. With these poems the shape must be a square or rectangle, although since these poems were originally published on a different site, the shape of the rectangle no longer lines up. You can see the intent I had originally, however. :




I must confess that I am never saD

When I see a garden bloom azaliA

Daisies, heather, violets, roses. IF

I see a floral bouquet made up oF

Daffodils, I’ll feel free and sing toO

When they’re near I don’t feel baD

Flowers are gorgeous in bloom – I

Must admit, though, that I will feeL

Sad when cut flowers die. Yes, alL

Flowers die. Then fall their petalS



The final acrostic poem I’ve included is the most difficult to write of the group. The acrostic has the same word at the beginning and end of the poem. Again, on this blog the shape is no longer a rectangle, but you can see my original intent for the purposes of discussing this poetry form. :




Mum is short for chrysanthemuM

Utterly sweet. Yes I do thank yoU

Mom, for all that you’ve done. I’M

Sending you a bouquet of MumS



Notes On My Chosen Titles:

Red is my favourite colour of roses.

Flowers as a whole just had to be one of my titles.

Daffodils are my mother’s birth flower. (Mine are violets.)

Mums always make me think of Mother


April National Month of Poetry #30: Sherlock Holmes Acrostic Poem


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Nameplate found at the real location of 221B Baker Street in London, England

Source: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons



Copyright by Flora Breen Robison 




Sherlock Holmes was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle during the Victorian Era;

His detection methods were based upon logic, reason, and solid physical evidence.

Eventually Doyle grew tired of his creation and decided to kill him off at the

Reichenbach Falls in a fatal battle against the evil Professor Moriarty.

London, England and the rest of the world plunged into deep mourning

Over the death of this fictional detective whom they loved and admired;

Conan Doyle was eventually forced to resurrect the beloved detective

Killing Holmes was a bad mistake; Doyle couldn’t escape his creation.


Holmes had a loyal sidekick and biographer in Dr. John Watson

Over time Watson was spoofed in Hollywood and seen as inferior

Logic fails there as Watson was a doctor-just blame Nigel Bruce

Medical men must be quite intelligent and Holmes wouldn’t tolerate

England’s favourite narrator if he was unable to respect Dr. Watson

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson continue to “live” and solve new cases.



P.S. My favourites:

My favourite Holmes novel is The Hound of the Baskervilles.

My favourite Holmes short story is “The Dancing Men.”

My favourite Holmes actor is Jeremy Brett. 

My favourite Jeremy Brett performance of Sherlock Holmes is “The Resident Patient.”

April National Month of Poetry #29: Alfred Hitchcock: An Acrostic Poem


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Alfred Hitchcock enjoyed frightening people with his suspense films

Source: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons



Copyright by Flora Breen Robison 


Alfred Hitchcock:

An Acrostic Poem


Alfred Hitchcock was the Master of Suspense.


London-born, he lived his life


Frightening people with his atmospheric films.


Rebecca was his first Hollywood film


Even though cast and setting was British.


Director of thrillers and the macabre.


Hitchcock directed only two horror firms:


In Psycho and The Birds, Hitchcock shocked with gore.


Thrillers focused on music, mind and imagery;


Cameos were his signature touch.


Happy to keep fans on the edge of their seats,


Cinema’s genius had a string of hits.


Over three decades since Hitchcock died


Captivated audiences still love to be scared,


Kept out of breath by the Master of Suspense.