One of the most moving, nay harrowing, poems I know, is one called ‘Strange Fruits’. The poem was written by an American teacher, Abel Meeropol and first published in 1937.
It is an out-and-out protest song, a fiercely evocative cry against the lynching of black African Americans in the southern states of the USA. The poem’s author himself composed the music to which his poem was sung, most famously by Billie Holiday, who recorded it in 1939.
Many artists have recorded the song since, but I want particularly to bring to your notice a cover version sung by Nina Simone. Her haunting rendering of the song is soulful, dramatic and extremely moving. I have chosen a video version which enables the listener to concentrate on the words and their meanings rather than the violent images which are available on some of the video recordings of this song which, should you wish to see, can be found on YouTube. The haunting falling tone Nina Simone uses in the last verse will forever be seared on my memory.
You will find the video by clicking on this YouTube link … ‘Strange Fruits’