Posted by: alexswallow | April 15, 2013

A poem I wrote about Trusteeship

With thanks to Kipling:


If you can keep your head when all about you,

Have read the briefings five times to your one,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

And feel that your duty has been done;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
And plan ahead so your intentions don’t surprise,
If you let your brain be constantly creating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream- and not make dreams your master,
If you have patience for the long-term game,
If you can meet with triumph and disaster,
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear a new agenda topic,
When your stomach rumbles and you’ve a train to catch,
If the finance sheets are making you myopic,
But you’re determined that they’ve met their match;

If you can keep your mind fixated,
On those the charity’s there to serve,
If you’re working harder than anticipated,
And you approach the lot with vim and verve;
If you keep fellow members smiling,
When your own is wearing thin,
And hang in there when the pressure’s piling,
And take your setbacks on the chin;

If every time one’s added to your number,
You’re bothered to make them feel at ease,
If you can drag others from their slumber,
To see the options you must surely seize;
If you can fill the unforgiving meeting,
With two hours worth of good work done,
Yours is the Earth, and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Trustee, my son!
(or daughter!)


  1. As I sit here preparing for my trustee interview this afternoon, this gives me cheer (and hope)!

  2. Really good luck Ana!

  3. Alex what an honest account! I love this poem (and the original too). I’m considering Trusteeship in the next few years… #goodpreparation!

    • Pleased you like both this poem and the original much better version! You’re a Clore Fellow aren’t you? Sure lots of charities would love to have you if you decide to go for it.

  4. […] my Trustee version of it is here. […]

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