Return to All Paintings

Strange Fruit

This was the third canvas I used for this painting. My first try was too graphic; the reality was too hard to bear and too painful to share. The second focused too heavily on the crowds leaving the “lynching picnic.” This one tells the story of the poem, “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday.
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’s a 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’s a strange and bitter crop.