Moonrakers – Richard Westcott


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.


Wiltshire yokels, raking a pond for kegs of smuggled brandy, feigned lunacy when surprised by the excise men, saying that they were trying to rake out the moon, which was reflected in the water.

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

Richard Westcott, for many happy years a GP in north Devon, now has no excuse not to get down to writing. He blogs at and he’s been pleasantly surprised to win a few prizes here and there. His pamphlet is published by Indigo Dreams –

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