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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
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NOEL KING

 

 

 

 

Noel King

 

Noel King was born and lives in Tralee. His poems, haiku, short stories, reviews and articles have appeared in magazines and journals in thirty-seven countries. His poetry collections are published by Salmon Poetry: Prophesying the Past, (2010), The Stern Wave (2013) and Sons (forthcoming in 2015). He has edited more than fifty books of work by others. Anthology publications include The Second Genesis: An Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry (AR.A.W.,India, 2014).

 


 

 

 

 

The Statistics and I

 

As an Irish citizen of Palestinian origin, stating my country of birth often poses a problem, never more so than in completing Daonáireamh na hÉireann (Census of Population of Ireland, Sunday, April 10th 2011). I mean Jesus, Mary and Joseph we're surely not asked as many questions in the time of Caesar Augustus. My birthplace, Beit Jela, lies in what is now the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Until 1948, it was Palestine. But when I was born in 1951, it was under Jordanian rule and I received a Jordanian birth certificate. It was occupied by Israel in 1967, and is now referred to as the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). So, as I try to fill in I notice I can only put in 17 characters for my answer, so that officially sanctioned name – Occupied Palestinian Territories does not fit. I wasn’t sure if OPT was a recognised abbreviation, so I called the Central Statistics Office help-line. A very helpful boy put me through to a very helpful girl, who put me through to a very, very helpful girl, who put me on hold before putting me through to a very helpful boy who tells me he has trained as a statistician and the people in his department are statisticians too and after much consultation between me, my statistician and the rest of the statisticians the spokesman speaks: “we all know it’s occupied, so, Sir, you should just simply put down 'Palestine'”. Which I have done with pride and satisfaction.

 

 

©2015 Noel King

 

 

Author Links

 

Noel King at Salmon Poetry

Three poems by King in the Galway Review

More by Noel King in Southword Journal

 

 

 

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