Ghosts of Strange Fruit and Towering Trees

Blood of the fallen runs on the alter of vengeance
Eyes of fire replay their last moments
The tears that fall are the final expulsion of agony
We cry no more but see the kindling of our glory
Embers light up the dark night
The wailing of grieving mothers is the essence of our plight
Intuition is our vision even if we lose our sight
Last agonizing breaths of our ancestors absolutely indicts
The generations of slave masters 
The hell of our lives trivialized through lying tongues and murderous eyes
The wicked intent of their hearts pulling on the woven fabric
Of the very flag of which they hide behind
We are tired but resolved
Hear it in our sighs
For the children have seen strange fruit
With broken necks and bulging eyes as their father’s drove by
Instilling fear year after year each season 
Beginning with the commencement of tears
If there is indeed an almighty God
The anxiety of our children will not go unpunished
We have survived many violent summers
And the fire of resilience has warmed us in the coldest winters
In their last moments the beloved stood under the shade of  canopies 
Hanged on the branches of towering trees 
The same place they were whipped unmercifully 
The trees left as witnesses with splatter from the blood of tortured bodies 
In their deep roots they retained the tormented screams
And did not bear sweet fruit again 
They slowly withered with the discoloration of their leaves
Mothers fell to their knees and cried out for their sons
While their daughters tried to comfort them
For everything under the heavens there is a beginning and an end
The ghosts of the oppressed and the afflicted
Roam freely in the vast fields of plantations 
And among the aged towering trees where pain was inflicted
The soil where they toiled infused with sweat and blood
If you listen closely their songs can be heard
Hands with many scars and eyes blurred 
In unbearable heat they yet toiled under the overseer’s gun
Seeing the blood run from the hands of even the little ones
Their mothers sneaking to tend to their wounds with love
The towering trees witness their sorrow from above

Tears of My People

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The cries and tears of the children spill and flow into the rivers and streams; the ocean rises and her waves are lifted up in anger with the tears of my people. The blood and tears are mixed and infused into the lakes and bayous. The waters are perpetually restless and troubled by the souls and spirits of they that shed their blood and were oppressed. The eyes that glow in the night and the creatures of the water hear the loud cries of the souls and the pain in their voices. They cry out for vengeance, and they scream for justice. They weep for remembrance. The earth underneath is shaken and moves violently. Tears ripple through the waters with lightning speed and the soil is saturated with blood.

In the deep dark of night everything is suddenly again quiet. The creepy crawlers of the night and they that dwell in the deep midst of the lakes and bayous are afraid and tense with anticipation. For they have witnessed the injustices; they have witnessed the generations of they that have suffered and have bled, and have shed tears, and have been tortured, and have cried out to God, and have been beaten, and have been broken, and have been enslaved, and have been raped, and have been trodden, and have been unloved. On the banks of the rivers and lakes; the streams and the bayous; stand the ghosts of my people. Eyes fierce, wide and illuminated; They line up side by side in tattered rags. Their wounds show and bear witness to their past lives. Their blood is dried on them. They line up. The elders and the ones with gray hair. The men and the women. The young ones. Hand in hand they line up, and in silence they look on. The children hold the hands of their mothers; the mothers hold the hands of their men; the men hold the hands of the elders and they look on.

Blood sheds from old wounds and tears begin to flow from wide illuminated eyes, but they show no emotion. In silence and in the dark of night they look on. My heart is dismayed by the pain of my people; my eyes, red and sodden with heavy sorrows. As if in a dream, I stretch forth my arms. The moonlight reflects on the dark waters; Polaris shines bright in the night’s sky. They beckon me to come forward, and I oblige as I slowly approach. My people, with bare feet, tattered rags, thick scars on backs, deep wounds, tears flowing from eyes and faces emotionless, stretch forth their arms. The old and the young; the little children, stretch forth their arms to embrace me. In their embrace I am overcome. My God, I am overcome with emotion. Each one begin to whisper closely in my ear the story of their life and pain. The whispers grow louder and I am caught in a whirlwind of their voices; they take me to the places of their deepest suffering and to the places where they wept.

My whole being is shattered by the reality of their past existence. I stand silent. My spirit is filled with fury and sorrow. A potent mix that boils and stirs fire within me. What am I to do? The generation of tears have flown and permeated the earth. What once grew here no longer grows. Their pain and rage have impregnated her and she is vexed by the plight and the affliction of them. The earth will not be moved. She will not forgive. she will not give up her stores and she will not yield her crops; the tobacco; the sugarcane; the cotton will all wither and die. The trees where my people were hanged have shed their leaves. Their roots are rotten and their once sweet fruit have turned bitter. The bumbled bee and the honeybee will not pollinate. The flowers and the once green grass is brown, scorched and sparse. Innocent blood has been shed here. Tears have fallen here. Enough to crack the dams and flow out violently into the vast rivers and oceans.

My people, my precious people; I love them. They peacefully fade away back to their place of rest, where there is no sorrow. One by one they go back to tranquility. I am left alone to bear witness. I scream out with all the air in my lungs and with every fiber of my being: You will be avenged! You are redeemed! With ghostly eyes they turn back and look; in haunted voices, my people whisper: Remember us; remember us.