Strange fruit lives in the
bones of black mothers,
the blood of their sons,
marrow of their daughters.
Blue winds drift by
full of poplar scents,
aromas that never leave
the maternal soul.
They exhort their sons
to be careful,
make it back home.
They know they can die
for the smallest things,
for absolutely nothing.
Yet, they also know the American Dream
through the body of their sons
they hold closely in their arms.
They watch them leave,
hoping they experience
just ordinary prejudice and
not a blue knee on their neck,
into a black pieta
Strange Fruit refers to the song about lynching made popular by both Nina Simone and Billie Holiday. Here are the lyrics:
Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulgin’ eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burnin’ 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 the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop