No one attempts to safeguard poets or artists; it is generally overlooked that, by the very character of their profession, a scratch may prove mortal.
And then you file slowly past a grave and throw a flower.
For much of the prolific literary lifetime of the Russian who wrote those lines, the deceptively romantic tone overlay the steely facts of Soviet life.
The scratch of a pen that grated Stalin could prove mortal to its author, and Ilya Ehrenburg set out to safeguard himself from an early, flowered grave. Survive he did,...