Good Morning All:

I am looking for a link to one of Mark's favorite quotes about the reality of plans. It is a quote by a military person. It speaks of developing a battle plan on paper, but then men get tired, obstacles come along the way, there are streams to cross, etc.

I would love to have this quote for our present work situation but I can't seem to find it.

Thank you.


cruss's picture
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You are not the first to come looking for this quote. Here is another time this was asked for with some very good discussion.



Canyon R

akinsgre's picture

Page 86 in the Google copy of that book




akinsgre's picture

Interestingly, that link is for a poem by Jean Elizabeth Ward.  I also found  a reference to an epic poem called John Brown's Body by Stephen Vincent Benet


The appear to be the same poem, so I'm assuming that the J. Ward is an editor, not the author? 

The Stephen Vincent book is on Project Guttenberg


If you take a flat map
And move wooden blocks upon it strategically,
The thing looks well, the blocks behave as they should.
The science of war is moving live men like blocks.
And getting the blocks into place at a fixed moment.
But it takes time to mold your men into blocks
And flat maps turn into country where creeks and gullies
Hamper your wooden squares. They stick in the brush,
They are tired and rest, they straggle after ripe blackberries,
And you cannot lift them up in your hand and move them.
--A string of blocks curling smoothly around the left
Of another string of blocks and crunching it up--
It is all so clear in the maps, so clear in the mind,
But the orders are slow, the men in the blocks are slow
To move, when they start they take too long on the way--
The General loses his stars and the block-men die
In unstrategic defiance of martial law
Because still used to just being men, not block-parts.

contemplation101's picture
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Thanks so much for putting this on the site!

430jan's picture

That was just what I was looking for. Thank you.