Wardens issue call for new poems to modernize Iron Ring Ceremony


Following several years of complaints that Rudyard Kipling’s texts for The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer are outdated, the organization responsible for the ceremony is seeking to commission two new poems to “help make the ceremony more inclusive and to reflect the diversity of contemporary society.”

An increasing number of engineering associations have called for changes to the ceremony since 2020, citing concerns around Kipling’s own controversial background, as well as Christian and patriarchal elements within the current texts drawing from three of Kipling’s poems.

While the organization behind the Iron Ring ceremony, the Corporation of the Seven Wardens, has already made attempts to modernize Kipling’s texts, complaints to replace it completely have persisted. As a result, the Wardens announced that it had formed a Ritual Review Committee in early 2022.

Now, the Wardens are seeking one new English poem and one new French poem as replacements, in part, to help mark the 100th anniversary of the ceremony in 2025. The two authors selected will each be awarded $3,500.

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“Although Kipling’s poems are well known and contain important messages and context, they were written approximately 100 years ago and it is the Corporation’s wish to modernize the ceremony with a poem that uses the language of today, while still respecting and capturing the themes and values of the Corporation,” state the Wardens in their call for submissions.

The ceremony, which also includes the presentation of an iron ring, is designed to direct newly qualified engineers “toward a consciousness of the profession and its social significance.”

The new poems must be gender neutral and written in contemporary language accessible and relevant to modern day participants in the ceremony, the Wardens said. The text must be relatable to candidates of all genders, religions, orientations, and physical abilities.

As part of the selection process, interested poets must first:

a) write a brief explanation (200 words or less) expressing why they are interested in the opportunity, b) include a biography, summary of qualifications and/or a CV, c) include samples of original poems and/or creative writing pieces.

Final poem selections will be made by the Corporation on September 30, 2024.

The deadline for initial expressions of interest is May 1, 2023. Submissions should be sent to poem_poeme@corp.ironring.ca



  1. In my opinion, some traditions should be left alone and this is one of them. So what if Kipling was a Christian and a man, why is this even mentioned? I think most engineers are men, so what? I thought we were beyond using someone’s sex and religious affiliation in this way? Apparently to be inclusive, we have to be atheists or belong to the new “DEI” religion. What I’m reading in here, is “let’s not focus on the history and meaning behind the ceremony” in the first place – it’s obviously more important to make those taking the oath to FEEL included, instead of feeling the weight of the intention of the ceremony which is to impress upon the new engineers the responsibility they have by practicing and implementing their engineering knowledge for the betterment and safety of society… that’s what’s important – it’s NOT about the individual and their feelings or any of their immutable or private characteristics that have NOTHING to do with their abilities to perform the role or job of an engineer well. It’s supposed to be weighty and somewhat uncomfortable (or exciting depending on how you view the occasion) – these are the future engineers who will be building bridges, roads, setting up AI control systems, water treatment plants, etc. In my opinion, young engineers NEED to feel the WEIGHT of their responsibilities, not feel good about being an engineer – they already received that in their 4-5 or more years of schooling.
    I know there will be those who disagree with me and that’s fine, but I believe this wholesale change should not be made lightly and I think the corporation should seek the input from across the country before a few individuals choose the new poem unilaterally.
    Maybe to get greater buy-in, the poem options should be posted and polled by engineers across Canada? with an option to keep the existing poem once everyone (who’s interested) can see the poem submissions?

  2. I’m in entire agreement with you Kathryn. I’m appalled at the DEI and woke diversionary nonsense infecting even our staid STEM disciplines. The last thing I want to believe is the person designing the bridges we’re to be driving over is concerned about their feelings about the social justice of what they are doing and how it affects either their feelings or the nebulous feelings of others. In fact, I don’t believe the vast majority of engineers would care on iota about any of this, it just a few trying to make a mark for themselves hopping on the bandwagon of self-promoting virtue signalers. This sort of initiative only manages to weaken the strong profession that engineering is, which the vary act of the recitation of the Ritual Calling of the Engineer symbolizes perfectly.


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