Poet John Carson lives in a crumbling seaside house with his sister and niece. Winter is upon him, and he writes feverishly to the woman who has abandoned him as a lover, yet kept him as a correspondent. Theresa: beautiful, generous . . . and married. The occasional fleeting encounter between the lovers fuels John the writer, but leaves John the man close to despair. To keep his feelings in check, John loses himself in the details of his home life – the never-ending chores of domesticity, his nieces mysterious eating disorder and the menu he is attempting to write in rhyming couplets save him from himself, most of the time. There is also the eccentric old woman who lives in their garden cottage and the poetry journal that he has just been appointed to edit. Will John and Theresa find a way to overcome everything that holds them apart or is, in fact, a state of permanent longing really what poets need?