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

Veterans' Memorial with Poem



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

Dedicated to Colleen Haag

Our Town Clerk
Let us as a community,
Being grateful and sincere,
Remember your dedication
To our town thirty-four years.

Numerous committees you’ve chaired,
Countless hours and miles.
Keeping our town’s best interest
Through challenges and trials.

Shelburne has always been your home,
It is where your heart belongs.
Your leadership and compassion
Always tireless and strong.

This is not a final goodbye,
For we know that you’re not through.
Our town still needs your guiding hand.
There is still a lot to do!

Written by Rick Bessette




Rick Bessette, Poet Laureate

Rick Bessette, Poet Laureate
  1. Poetry Reading at The Christmas Loft

    3155 Shelburne Road, Sunday, December 11, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.
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Lighting of the Tree

We welcome you with peace and joy
As we come and gather round.
Celebrating with community
A season of sights and sounds.

Growing alongside this highway
Watching families come and go;
Giving beauty to our town green,
Your one mission just to grow.

Snows of winter soon to arrive
Will dress these bows of evergreen,
Sharing the night with moon and stars
To present a magical scene.

Each year we await the moment
For the twinkling of these lights
Warming the hearts of travelers
On cold, dark, winter nights.

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

O Christmas Tree

Out in the country
Beyond city lights,
There stands a small tree,
A glorious sight.

Deep in the forest
Where nature abounds,
Home to wildlife,
Each making their sounds.

Soon a cold north wind
Brings sparking snow,
Silently causing
Your bows to hang low.

A star shining bright
On objects below,
A sign that Christmas
Is more than boxes and bows.

Written by Rick Bessette



 Visit Rick's Website for More Poems.