Seven Years

by Jacob Mau

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Soldiers brought a big machine gun Put it in his living room Said we’d like to use your window sir There’s things we’ve got to shoot When he told his kids that story It became their memory Though they never saw the bullets And they never heard the scream Now in America his son is play’n X-box shooter games Thirty points for a clean head shot No one seems to think it strange Hum ditty ho hi ho hum Does anybody think it strange? I met a woman who had never been to school Or learned to read She could hardly hold a pencil But she spoke in poetry All the wisdom I had gathered From the information age Now in question, now unraveled Neath those melodies she sang Hum ditty ho hi ho hum Does anybody think it strange? I found a tree that ‘gainst all others Shown a trunk white as a bone Branches stretch’n up like fingers Roots down in the soft dark loam Forty years I walked that river Wonder’n what its name could be Then appearing Adam told me Oh that’s a great big sycamore tree Hum ditty ho hi ho hum Does anybody think it strange? I went look’n for my princess I went search’n for my queen Says it right there in the Bible How come you’re all laugh’n at me? When I find her with a royal love We’ll walk at Jesus’ side Ever suffering, ever praying Till the world is put to right You can read again those stories You can mine your memory For one single recollection I tell you, that’s how it’s gonna be Hum ditty ho hi ho hum Does anybody think it strange?
They hauled my daddy off to jail Next time I saw him he was silent and frail The bombs they fell and the bullets flew I still have no idea how we made it through Over that border in a rumbling diesel truck Was it an all-powerful protecting hand Or just dumb luck? The barbed wire and land mines weren’t so kind To all the others we left behind We’re taking pictures and signing our names Climbing up into a giant airplane With six one-way tickets to the promised land When we get there what will we do-- My parents and my brothers and my grandma too? With six one-way tickets to the promised land They bombs they fall and the bullets fly You were there, now you’re here And I don’t know why Like two dozen angels in disguise I see them sometimes when I pray And I open my eyes Laughing and singing to me that divine song Singing, "Something good still grows in the Middle of all that’s gone wrong" I remember long ago somebody told me That one day the blood of the wicked’s Gonna fill the sea We called out for our lives and we ran But you, you were born in the promised land So safe, so free, so far away Oh brother I’ve wept and I’ve wandered too But I know exactly what I’ve got to do Before I ever step foot in the Promised Land Before we ever lay eyes on the Promised Land
Come brother bear this burden Sister share this shame I know the world has moved on Gave me a number and forgot my name My name is Khadija Khan I just turned seventy-three Back home I raised eight children In America I sit alone and watch TV Come brother bear my burden Come sister share my shame Come brother bear my burden Come sister share my shame Here in the land of the living I am the only one who remains I saw them kill my family And turn our village into ash The soldiers took my sister I heard her screaming as they laughed Could you bear this burden? Could you share this shame? Come brother bear this burden Come sister share this shame I’ve wandered deep into the darkness Turned my back on you and walked away And now I cannot lift my eyes To look you in the face I’m certain that I’ve slipped beyond The reach of Heaven’s grace Can you bear my burden? Could you stand my shame? Come Mary bear this burden Come virgin take this shame You will bear a child Emmanuel will be his name Hold him in your belly And do not be afraid The prophet cries "Deliverance!" Now the angels sing in praise Follow him out of the city Now lay him in his grave He will not remain there He’ll rise and take away our shame He will bear our burdens He will bear our burdens
Seven Years 03:36
Oh Jubilee come remind me That this field is not my own Though my fathers fought so hard It was the Lord who held their sword And gave to them a vineyard Which they did not plant A place of quiet rest A sweet inheritance Oh refugees come remind me That this land is not my home Though my fathers worked so hard It was never theirs to own Teach me not to hoard good things Or take more mana than I need I will lay down my silly rights And unhand my property I believe, I believe that the promises are true When you die you won’t take your house Or car or your field or your servants with you I’m an alien I can’t fit in cause I am not yet home Should I spill more blood Defending something I don’t own? Or trade my life for a career So I can pay for something I can’t keep? Please believe with me That in the resurrection we are free
Yousif, Yousif, where has your sister gone? I haven’t seen her since the night they dropped the bomb And she sang to me a song to keep my tears from coming on As the fire lit up the dawn. I remember her though it’s been so long Young Mohammad, I long to speak with you You learn a new language twice as quickly as I do You grow more distant everyday, and I don’t have the words to say But I won’t let you slip away, Lord knows, my son You are the very one I came here to save Jacob, Jacob, your heart became a stone You’re turning paychecks but you’re putting on a show Your brittle branches hang so low, so many stories You don’t know because you’re always on the go And your fruit is overgrown, and your love remains unknown You go to work, you go to work and come back home Well it’s true, and I don’t know what to say But do you love me anyway? You’re not okay. I’ve noticed it too And yes, I do Henry, Henry, you’ll never return home You’ll die a distant soldier as these quiet cornfields grow And your little sister cries, as she stares into the fire Wondering exactly how you died, she only wants you at her side And your father walks the fields in the blackness of the night He left a long day’s work behind to shake his fist At a silent sky and wonder why I’ve seen your picture, Henry, from 1922 We could’ve been brothers, me and you That war was different they say There was good and evil, clear as day But it took you just the same
Mother, come and dance with me We’ll sing with the mountains And clap our hands with the trees For all our sorrow Is just a memory Sister, don’t you cry anymore A king he came and Put an end to the war All your beauty Has now been restored
If I Forget 04:33
At the waters of Babylon I hung up my harp When they told me to sing your song I hung up my harp Will we ever return? My child I don’t know Yes we will return Remember, the prophet told us so He said, Our bodies will be strong And our city will shine With a beauty we’ve never known Through all ages Until the end of time Son of David, Son of Man Is this Elijah, returned to us? Or our Passover lamb? If I could only touch his dusty robe I would be healed, I would be clean They say when he takes his sword And cuts the Romans down Oh then we will be whole Then we will be free We will be free At the waters of Babylon I hung up my harp When the told me to sing your song I picked up my harp And said, Let my right hand Forget all its skill Should I ever cease to sing Of your holy hill
Oh Lord, God of my salvation I call out day and night before you Let my prayers come to you Turn your ear to my cry Turn your ear to my cry For my soul is full of trouble My life draws near to the grave I am counted among the dead I have no strength, no strength, no strength Turn your ear to my cry Turn your ear to my cry repeat with "his" repeat with "her" repeat with "our"
So you think that I’m some kind of prodigal That some day I’ll show up with my head hung low That may be so, that may be so But would you shame yourself to receive me? Would you shame yourself to receive me? You took what I gave to you You took it, and you walked away You and your new friends had your fun You had your day, now you’re so low And you think nobody knows You’re so low, and you think nobody knows Could I shame myself and receive you? Should I shame myself to receive you? There are three things I’m certain of My family, and my home, and a love That cannot be understood but can be known It can be known, Oh Lord, it can be known It can be known, Oh Lord, it can be known You’d shame yourself to receive me You’d shame yourself to receive me



Jacob Mau is a passionate storyteller who has worked with refugees since 2006. His current project, Seven Years, is a collection of songs, stories, and poems drawn from this experience. Jacob has shared Seven Years in the U.S. and Canada. In 2014 he participated in the Forced to Flee tour, a Chadwick Stokes national campaign raising visibility for refugee issues. Jacob lives and works in Chicago, where he continues providing hands-on support for resettled refugees.


released February 14, 2014

Jacob Mau: vocals, guitar, banjo. Annie Scott: violin, background vocals. Brett Ratliff: drums, background vocals. Derek Song: lead guitar, background vocals. David McKenzie: bass guitar. Recorded at Sowing Season Studios in Chicago. Mixed by Brett Ratliff. Mastered by Joe Tessone at Mystery Street Recording. Album art by Aaron Schmid.
"Think it Strange" features Oliver Horton on bass and Brian Powers on Mandolin. Mixed by Nick Gunty. Mastered by Joe Tessone.
© 2014 all songs by Jacob Mau.


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Jacob Mau Chicago, Illinois

Jacob Mau spins compelling stories of misfit people and misplaced landscapes oft overlooked by others, and ignored by history. As this year's winner of Chicago's longest-running open mic competition, hosted annually by Uncommon Ground, he is clearly a standout among the city's best singer-songwriters. Good things await this young musician."

-Scott Schaefer
Label Manager
Bloodshot Records
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