What is poetry good for?

I just read (and enjoyed) Ian McEwan’s story, “The Use of Poetry,” in the New Yorker at the recommendation of T-Rex Tragedies, who cited this passage, which must make you laugh:

She said goodbye politely enough and went on her way, but Beard walked after her and asked if she was free the next day, or the day after that, or at the weekend. No, no, and no. Then he said brightly, “How about ever?,” and she laughed pleasantly, genuinely amused by his persistence, and seemed on the point of changing her mind. But she said, “There’s always never? Can you make never?,” to which he replied, “I’m not free,” and she laughed again and made a sweet little mock punch to his lapel with a child-size fist and walked off, leaving him with the impression that he still had a chance, that she had a sense of humor, that he might wear her down.

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