Monday, May 16, 2011

Strange Fruit

The photograph that was cited by the songwrite...Image via Wikipedia

Southern trees bear 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,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh!

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

- Abel Meeropol

The photograph shows the lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith on August 7th 1930 in Marion, Indiana, Meeropol is reported to have written the poem after seeing this photograph. Although the photograph has shown up on the Zementa content widget, there appears to be some controversy over its copyright status as Wikipedia offers this explanation for fair use "Fair use rationale for Strange Fruit: This exact image inspired the poem Strange Fruit and is used in the article to illustrate this inspiration. The image is irreplaceable for this purpose."
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