Black Muzzle


Black muzzle, south sea dog,

How lucky I am to be your master!

On scraps growing plump as a gourd

Never grumbling for fancier food.

Gentle by day, you learn to tell my friends;

Ferocious by night, you guard the gate.


From a poem by Su Tung-P’o written in the year 1100 

Translated from the Chinese by Burton Watson