Strange Messengers

by Patti Smith

Patricia Lee "Patti" Smith (born December 30, 1946) is an American singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist, who became a highly influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album Horses.




I looked upon the book of life 
Tracing the lines of face after face 
Looking down at their naked feet 
Bound in chains bound in chains 
Chains of leather chains of gold
We knew it was wrong but we looked away 
And paraded them down the colonial streets 
And that's how they became enslaved 

They came across on the great ships
Mothers separated from their babes 
Husbands stood on the auction block 
Bound in chains bound in chains 
Chains of leather chains of gold
Men knew it was wrong but they looked away
And led them to toil in fields of white
As they turned their necks to a bitter landscape 

Oh the people I hear them calling
Am I not a man and a brother
Am I not a woman and a sister 

History sends us such strange messengers
They come down through time 
To embrace to enrage 
And in their arms even stranger fruit 
And they swing from the trees
With their vision in flames
Ropes of leather ropes of gold 
Men knew it was wrong but they looked away 
Messengers swinging from twisted rope 
As they turned their necks to a bitter landscape 

Oh the people I hear them calling
Am I not a man and a brother 
Am I not a woman and a sister 
We will be heard we will be heard

Written by: LEONARD J KAYE, PATTI SMITH

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