On my visa application it says ‘Occupation: Poet’, so the Immigration Officer said:
— Oh yeah? Wot you wrote then?
Well, ‘The Ballad of Elmer Twilb’ is one…
— Seriously? You wrote ‘The Ballad of Elmer Twilb’? Oh my God, I love that poem!’
Then he turned to a colleague at the next counter and shouted: ‘Oi, Ralf, this is the guy that wrote ‘The Ballad of Elmer Twilb’! No kidding!
His colleague hurried over, saying, ‘The Ballad of Elmer Twilb’! Oh my God! You wrote that?
Very soon a small but noisy crowd had gathered around me: handshakes, smiles, selfies.
Then the first Officer said: ‘I don’t mind telling you this: I cried…. like a baby!’
The second Officer began reciting from memory: “The burnished urn that holds the hallowed clay” —‘ God, I love that — ‘burnished urn’ — marvellous!’
1st Officer: So, where do you get your ideas from?
Self: Well, it’s very hard to say, they just… I can’t really say.
1st Officer: You must know where they come from. Can you be more specific?
Self: Not really, no. They just sort of, you know…
1st Officer: Evasive, Ralf?’
2nd Officer: Failure to disclose.
Long story short,
I got myself deported.
Leaving on the next plane,