I’m on the phone to my husband, He’s in Lithuania. We mention our Songs of Devastation.

'I think it’s time for another one.’ That’s me.

‘All right. Have we done Billie Holiday?’ That’s him.

‘Yes. Gloomy Sunday,’ I say.

‘There’s another one, of course.’


‘Then, let’s put up ‘Strange Fruit.’ This song is as devastating a song as I’ve ever heard. The lyric is unbelievable. The song was written by Abel Meeropol, under the pseudonym, Lewis Allan – a Jewish American teacher, who was also a member of the American Communist Party and taught the author and racial justice advocate James Baldwin. Billie Holiday sings it with such force. It’s completely chilling.’

‘Not for the faint-hearted.’

‘No. Not for the faint-hearted at all.’


Strange Fruit


Southern trees bear a 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 magnolia, sweet and fresh

Then the sudden smell of burning 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


By Lewis Allan