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Rake Daddy Rake


As with lots of good stories, there are many versions.

Basically this one's about a pair of Wiltshire yokels raking a pond for kegs of smuggled brandy.  They feigned lunacy when surprised by the excise men, saying that they were trying to rake out the full moon which was reflected in the water.  Their ruse was successful. The officials had no trouble in deciding they were lunatics, so left them to their raking.

Interestingly, the Lunacy Act of 1842 defined a lunatic as someone ‘afflicted with a period of fatuity in the period following a full moon’.

I suppose any time falls into the category of a 'period following a full moon'.  As for fatuity, that might include all of us on certain occasions, not least since it's not stated how long 'a period' is. 

Perhaps then we're all occasionally lunatic...

Be all that as it may, on this occasion the lunatics (I've put inverted commas round the word and taken them out several times) outwitted the sober and sane, leaving us with the problem of what constituted, or even constitutes, lunacy; a question which in some ways we're not much further in usefully answering.

All of which sounds rather serious, which my poem isn't.

Though the more I think about it, and hear those clever yokels playing at being lunatic, I'm left wondering.


Lunatic, Sir?

Come and see for yourself – here is the moon

in all her silver glory.  Full to the brim

and shimmering, as real as you and me.


Afflicted, Sir?

How can that be, for there she rests

all ready now for harvesting.

I simply need to rake her in.


Be gentle, Sir

as there are times you must stand back

to let her find herself.  And then

surprised, the prize is yours.


Moonraking, Sir

that’s what we do.  No fatuity

though I admit, she must be filled

and you be careful with your tines.


And so farewell

there’s work for all of us to do

you must search for brandy smugglers

while we sane people rake up the moon.





  1. :) I have read that before now , it brought a broad smile to my face . It reminded me a little of Whisky Galore :)

  2. Thanks for the morning’s best smile Richard. I just wish my periods of fatuity didn’t last from one full moon to the next. I haven’t found the brandy yet.

  3. this also made me smile and is beautifully written - thank you

  4. A perfect sunny May day poem


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