A poem by Rudyard Kipling. It is on the topic of engineering and is often used in The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer.

The careful text books measure
   (Let all who build beware!)
The load, the shock, the pressure
   Material can bear.
So, when the buckled girder
   Lets down the grinding span,
The blame of loss, or murder,
   Is laid upon the man.
Not on the Stuff -- the Man!

But in our daily dealing
   With stone and steel, we find
The Gods have no such feeling
   Of justice toward mankind.
To no set gauge they make us, --
   For no laid course prepare --
And presently o'ertake us
   With loads we cannot bear.
Too merciless to bear.

The prudent text-books give it
   In tables at the end --
The stress that shears a rivet
   Or makes a tie-bar bend --
What traffic wrecks macadam --
   What concrete should endure --
But we, poor Sons of Adam,
   Have no such literature,
To warn us or make sure!

We hold all Earth to plunder --
   All Time and Space as well --
Too wonder-stale to wonder
   At each new miracle;
Till, in mid-illusion
   Of Godhead 'neath our hand,
Falls multiple confusion
   On all we did or planned.
The mighty works we planned.

We only of Creation
   (Oh, luckier bridge and rail!)
Abide the twin-damnation --
   To fail and know we fail.
Yet we -- by which sole token
   We know we once were Gods --
Take shame in being broken
   However great the odds --
The Burden or the Odds.

Oh, veiled and secret Power
   Whose paths we seek in vain,
Be with us in our hour
   Of overthrow and pain;
That we -- by which sure token
   We know thy ways are true --
In spite of being broken,
Because of being broken,
May rise and build anew.
Stand up and build anew!

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