Chestnuts

Hurting the ungloved hand, each case, when split,
reveals its cache of snug, damp, gleaming fruit,
free food for gatherers who need it least
(washed down with cider, or to stuff a roast
or giving soups and stews a darker taste);
its flour in times gone by a last resort
against starvation when the harvests failed.
Where desperate, ungloved hands once scrabbled,
now we forage easy pickings in the wood,
taking the fattest only from the glut,
then make for home with joy and slight regret
at fallen bounty mostly left to rot.