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