Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Wishing our words were tactile,
we speak of them like textiles:

Dressed-up tales are made
out of whole cloth.

A fibber fabricates
as if his lie were a linen.

Text is cut from Latin: to weave,
what tellers do with tales.

A good yarn has many threads
and few loose ends.

A well-suited phrase becomes
a threadbare cliché.

So words are made fabric
to dwell among us,

metaphors bespoke to
dress the body parts of speech.

—Christopher J. Scalia

Dear Reader,

We launched the First Things 2023 Year-End Campaign to keep articles like the one you just read free of charge to everyone.

Measured in dollars and cents, this doesn't make sense. But consider who is able to read First Things: pastors and priests, college students and professors, young professionals and families. Last year, we had more than three million unique readers on

Informing and inspiring these people is why First Things doesn't only think in terms of dollars and cents. And it's why we urgently need your year-end support.

Will you give today?

Make My Gift