The epic poems such as The Iliad and The Odyssey and The Aeneid upon which a substantial amount of Western literature is based represent storytelling on a grand scale. Although poets nowadays have by no means ceased writing book-length, narrative poems, they tend to tell many of their stories in a page or two. The ways, however, that poems tell stories and the ways that prose tells stories are not identical. Typically a prose story focuses on a conflict, a misunderstanding, an illusion. Short stories and novels are deeply socialized art forms in the sense that they deal with the collisions that are inevitable when people are at cross-purposes with one another. The tone of the poem mingles lyric, comic, narrative, descriptive, and dramatic notes while maintaining the imperative pace of the ballad. The grim, riveting determination of Longfellow's poem is no longer narrative's emblem. As far as narrative is concerned, there is no such thing as unpoetic.