Poetry Corner: Strange Fruit

On April 7th 1915 Billie Holiday was born  Eleanora Fagan in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Billie Holiday Billboard

Ad on page 2 of July 28, 1945 Billboard magazine.

She began her singing career in the nightclubs of Harlem and recorded her first record at age 18. She performed at the Carnegie Hall in New York but suffering from alcohol and drug addiction her voice began to deteriorate. She died of cirrhosis on July 17, 1959.

Strange Fruit

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 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
Songwriters: Lewis Allan / Maurice Pearl / Dwayne P Wiggins
Strange Fruit lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc


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