It is easy to say what either flatters or manipulates and so acquire power over others. In subtle ways, being a pastor subjects our words to corruption. That is why it is important to frequent the company of a poet friend – Gerard Manley Hopkins, George Herbert, Emily Dickinson, Luci Shaw are some of mine – a person who cares about words and is honest with them, who respects and honors their sheer overwhelming power. I leave such meetings less careless, my reverence for words and the Word restored.
Is it not significant that the biblical prophets and psalmists were all poets? It is a continuing curiosity that so many pastors, whose work integrates the prophetic and psalmic (preaching and praying), are indifferent to poets. In reading poets, I find congenial allies in the world of words. In writing poems, I find myself practicing my pastoral craft in a biblical way.
From The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction by Eugene Peterson in chapter XIV, “Poets and Pastors.”