Much we have to fear,
big-mouth beside me!
Our tobacco turns into dust,
nut-cracker, friend, idiot!
And I could have whistled through life like a starling,
eating nut pies…
But clearly there’s no chance of that.
~ Osip Mandelstam
Mandelstam once wrote that “only in Russia is poetry respected – it gets people killed.” He was last seen at a gulag transit station in Vladivostok in 1938.