Strange Fruit

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Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

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5 Responses to Strange Fruit

  1. Pearl says:

    This breaks my heart.

  2. irishgirl999 says:

    They are not hanging them from the trees anymore. It is inside jail cells…

  3. MrsGunka says:

    This is history we should never go back to, but they seem driven to do it. Being a racist is certifiable! Sick! Sick! Sick!

  4. 40Watt says:

    The AA subway train to Harlem. I clutch my mother’s sleeve, her arms full of shopping bags, christmas-heavy. The wet smell of winter clothes, the train’s lurching. My mother spots an almost empty seat, pushes my little snowsuited body down. On one side of me a man reading a paper. On the other, a woman in a fur hat staring at me. Her mouth twitches as she stares and then her gaze drops down, pulling mine with it. Her leather-gloved hand plucks at the line where my new blue snowpants and her sleek fur coat meet. She jerks her coat close to her.

    I look. I do not see whatever terrible thing she is seeing on the seat between us – probably a roach. But she has communicated her horror to me. It must be something very bad from the way she’s looking, so I pull my snowsuit closer to me away from it, too. When I look up the woman is still staring at me, her nose holes and eyes huge. And suddenly I realise there is nothing crawling up the seat between us; it is me she doesn’t want her coat to touch. The fur brushes my face as she stands with a shudder and holds on to a strap in the speeding train.

    Born and bred a New York City child, I quickly slide over to make room for my mother to sit down. No word has been spoken. I’m afraid to say anything to my mother because I don’t know what I have done. I look at the side of my snow pants secretly. Is there something on them? Something’s going on here I do not understand, but I will never forget it. Her eyes. The flared nostrils. The hate.

    Audrey Lorde, (1984)Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (New York: The Crossing Press, pp. 147-148)

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