a strange and bitter crop…

Strange Fruit” is a song recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939 and released as a single on the Commodore label. Originally written as a poem by Abel Meeropol . Holiday first performed the song at Café Society in Greenwich Village in 1939.

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 popular 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 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

Performing the song at Café Society in Greenwich Village,Holliday said that singing it made her fearful of retaliation but, because its imagery reminded her of her father, she continued to sing the piece, making it a regular part of her live performances. Holiday would close with it; the waiters would stop all service in advance; the room would be in darkness except for a spotlight on Holiday’s face; and there would be no encore. 

Source: Wikipedia :Strange Fruit