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

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
the served our community.

​Written by Rick Bessette



Rick Bessette, Poet Laureate

Rick Bessette, Poet Laureate

Love Your Library

Come in search of knowledge
Or a novel to relax.
Walk the aisles of waiting books;
Find history's printed facts.
Come, love your library;
It's not hard to do.
Be thankful that we have one;
Waiting her just for you.

Written by Rick Bessette

At the Feeder

Each morning they come
With sunrise they fly.
Looking for breakfast
To the feeders hung high.

Finches and bluebirds
Cardinals, swallows and doves,
Darting and swarming,
Nudges turn into shoves.

And there on the ground,
Squirrels impatiently wait
For the seed kicked out
At an alarming rate.

This show takes a twist
As dominance sets in,
Yes big daddy squirrel
Rules the turf once again.

Best of luck to those
Thinking you've got them beat.
They'll climb anything
With those sharp little feet.

Written by Rick Bessette

Stopping by the Woods

On this cold winter evening
In woods filled with new snow,
We stopped to rest the horses
Beneath branches bent low.

In a still muffled dimness
The trees beckoned to speak.
While the old wooden sleigh frame
Sat settling with a creak.

The team given a whistle
And harnesses a shake,
Chimed the ringing of sleigh bells
Worn by Jerry and Jake.

Written by Rick Bessette

Dove of Peace

Pure in its color
Soft is its sound
Keeps company with harmony
Where gentleness is found.

Time is its witness
To love it has brought
The key to our universe
So many have sought.

My wish for you
Is for peace all year long
That your heart be opened
By tranquility's song.

Written by Rick Bessette


 Visit Rick's Website for More Poems.