Saturday, 22 May 2010

Strange Fruit

Lawrence Beitler's photograph of the lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abraham Smith is in my opinion one of the greatest photographs ever taken. It signifies a moment of time in American history when things happend that people don't really talk about anymore. As i was doing a bit more research into this photograph, I discovered that the American writer Abel Meeropol was inspired by the image and wrote a poem called "Strange Fruit". The poem was later turned into a song and performed by Billie Holiday. I have posted both the poem and a video of Billie Holiday performing the song below the image. I really recommend taking the time to read the poem and listen to the song as both are equally as amazing as the photograph.

Strange Fruit
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 trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing song. We had to illustrate it in one of our projects last term. It's such an eerie photo as well. Especially as one of the guys in the crowd is smiling. What a bastard.

    Have you heard the Jeff Buckley cover? The first three minutes of improv are just amazing.