Strange Fruit

'Strange Fruit' by Anthony Armstrong

‘Strange Fruit’ by Anthony Armstrong

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body 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 magnolia sweet and fresh,
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!

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

~~ Abel Meeropol, “Strange Fruit” as sung by Billie Holiday

I keep telling myself: history is a pendulum. The Civil Rights act followed The House Committee on Un-American Activities. A gradually increasing degree of Marriage Equality followed embarrassed governmental indifference on AIDS. The Peace Corps outlasted the Vietnam War (at least for those who survived the latter). Israel rose out of the Holocaust, Nelson Mandela from apartheid.

Is it over yet? Can I open my eyes? Is this as hard as it gets? Is this what it feels like to really cry?
~~ Kelly Clarkson, Cry

It gets better. It will get better. Right? There will be a day when the stalking against police instruction and subsequent killing of an unarmed teenager will not be excused by the hoodie he was wearing, by the presence of a sidewalk. We can do better. We must do better. May God forgive us for taking so long.

4 responses to “Strange Fruit

  1. Yes, with so much given us, we make so many mistakes, do such ruinous harm. We have brains, talent; we create; we invent. And we do so much wrong to others, to ourselves — to anybody who seems different from the people who own the power. The question I asked myself this morning, on the way to read this post, is: What can I do in some small way, for it can only be small as I am not important or rich or influential, to make this a better world? Where guns are not used against unarmed children. Where the poor are not starved, the people not brutalized and abused by others who want, I guess, to prove they are “better.” Where women are not demeaned and humiliated and sometimes killed because they are women. Thank you for your post, Karen. I was fortunate indeed the day I came across it almost by chance…. Susan

    • “Light your corner” – something I read somewhere. Maybe I can’t save the world, or bring justice, but maybe I can make part of a day just a little better for someone. Thanks.

  2. I like what you write. So often I find myself nodding, saying, yes,i feel that way too. I am in sync with this woman. Thanks for your thoughts. You are appreciated. Mary Lou Hobbs

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