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Cattle on Calvary

This song is by Iron & Wine.

Warm in the jailhouse in Brownsville, asleep,
A bootful of liquor he borrowed.
He dreamed he was colored and waiting to meet
The rich man drawing tomorrow.

Head full of cotton, the scent in his mouth,
White coat of paint on the steeple.
Sharp pins and needles, he cursed, as he woke,
The smug, sleeping town and its people.

Sheriff Brown bit through his tongue when he shot out the black boy
He thought was stealing.
Churches burned on the hillside like cattle on Calvary,
Frightened and thirsty

The river swelled up till the valley could feel
Its moving like meddling fury.
Brown asked the creek why the Lord had to steal
His horse, his house, and his baby.

Grasping for branches while floating downstream,
Scared, unfamiliar and stranded.
Jumped on a dog, broke its neck on a tree,
His feet all but once again planted.

Sheriff Brown bit through his tongue when he screamed like a soldier
For justice and mercy.
Churches burned on the hillside like cattle on Calvary,
Frightened and thirsty.

Brown left the jail for a bar across town,
The street where the weight left his shoulder.
He walked through the door, finding no one around
But Jesus, in a booth in the corner.

Brown rubbed his eyes, turned his radio off,
Seeing, but far from believing.
Jesus stood up, and with a thick southern drawl,
Said, "Brown,
I'm the nigger you're seeking."

Sheriff Brown bit through his tongue when he strung up the savior
On a hook on the ceiling.
Churches burned on the hillside like cattle on calvary,
Dumb of their freedom.

Credits

Written by:

Sam Beam

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