Inaugural Poet Laureate

Rick Bessette is Shelburne's First Poet Laureate


Rick is a native of Shelburne, and was raised on Shelburne Farms.  He has been writing poetry for over 15 years, but with more passion the last 10 years.  Rick's poetry is a reflection of his Uncle Joe Thomas, who also wrote in rhyming quatrain style.
Everything he writes is real, something that was felt, heard, seen or touched. There is no make believe.  His poetry is simple and easy for everyone to relate to.

Rick feels if he can make someone's day a little better with a poem, then he has done his job as a writer. 
Rick is well known throughout the Shelburne community as “The People’s Poet,” having written the poem engraved in Shelburne’s Veterans Memorial (see photo below) and has shared his poetry with the Shelburne Community School, the Waldorf School, the Charlotte-Shelburne Rotary Club, and several retirement and assisted living communities in the area. His book of poetry, A Vermonter’s Heritage, Listening to the Trees, was published by local Wind Ridge Publishing. 

The town manager, library director and the selectboard adopted a Poet Laureate Program in the fall of 2015 to support and celebrate poetry and arts in the community.
The Poet Laureate Committee is pleased to have Rick Bessette as Shelburne’s first Poet Laureate, confident that his work over his 2-year term will unite the Shelburne community and foster a true sense of community pride.

Veterans' Memorial Poem by Rick Bessette




Shelburne Farms has been my home for most of my life. I have walked, biked and driven all over this magical, magnificent, peaceful landscape. My family is still connected to the farm for the third generation.

I started work there in 1968 as a grounds keeper with Darcy Patterson. I had the great opportunity to work with Mrs. Van Webb and her short-tailed pointer, Turtle. We always met in the flower garden, around 9 AM.

As I drive through the farm gates the outside world leaves me.  My fond memories come quietly back to me as if it were yesterday.  I have seen its landscape in many moods, and have enjoyed the abundant wildlife that also calls this home.  From sunrise to sunset every day is different.

One summer day a few years ago I stopped for a little while to reminisce my lifetime here in my "Field of Dreams."  

 Written by Rick Bessette

Shelburne "My Community"

Recalling my childhood memories,
It has always been home to me.
Shelburne, how I have watched you grow
Into the town you've come to be.

My community, small but vibrant,
Where wildlife still has a place.
Rolling hills and quiet forest
Set aside as a protected space.

On Sunday mornings a church bell rings
Down by the waking village green.
A young couple walks hand in hand
In country air still crisp and clean.

Peaceful sunsets over Lake Champlain
Quietly viewed from Shelburne Beach,
Soothes the weary that linger there;
Dream of tomorrow within reach.

Majestic green mountains in the east
Where a morning sun climbs the sky.
To the west the Adirondacks
Where the sun bids good night, good bye.

To you, our future generations
Please keep our Shelburne pure and clean.
Protect the heritage we have built,
Forever to be enjoyed and seen.

Written by Rick Bessette

Rick Bessette, Poet Laureate

Rick Bessette, Poet Laureate

For the Wildflowers


O Wildflowers it is your time
To share your  beauty  once again.
Even the songbirds sing out with joy
knowing just how long winters been.

In quiet meadows long forgotten

escaping blade of scythe and plow,
bees and butterflies on silent wing
fine sweetness of nectar somehow.

You bring beauty to the forest floor,
emerging beside brook and stream.
A place to come quietly visit,
where a heart can come sit - and dream.

Written by Rick Bessette

My Glass Jar

I think I will collect
My life in a glass jar-

To store my fondest days

To know where they all are-


I’ll only take the lid off

To put in another dream-

Or a treasure from my heart

Kept at the top like cream-


To be kept upon a shelf

Safe and out of the way-

Maybe I will look inside

On days that are dark and grey-

Written by Rick Bessette


A Gift

There is a place beside the water
where a weathered bench waits for you.
Come, sit in silence for awhile.
Feel great peacefulness from the view.


Let your eyes drift to an evening sky
where all the stars and sunsets live.
Listen to the waters lap the shore
Appreciate the beauty they give.

Written by Rick Bessette

A Firefighter's Prayer

Give me the strength and courage
to respond without delay-
to answer a call in need
No matter what time of day- 
May you guide my every thought
and every step my boots take-

Accept responsibility
in decisions that I make-

I will wear this uniform
with great pride and dignity-

Honor those past volunteers
That served our community-

Written by Rick Bessette

 Visit Rick's Website for More Poems.