This Old Breton prayer was inscribed on a block of wood on the desk of President John F. Kennedy. Admiral Hyman Rickover would give it to new submarine captains and also presented one to the President. Kennedy loved the quote and used it in his dedication of the East Coast Memorial to the Missing at Sea, May 23, 1963. He always kept in on his desk in the Oval Office and it is now in the JFK Presidential Museum and Library.
Here is the poem in its entirety:Thy sea, O God, so great, My boat so small. It cannot be that any happy fate Will me befall Save as Thy goodness opens paths for me Through the consuming vastness of the sea. Thy winds, O God, so strong, So slight my sail. How could I curb and bit them on the long And saltry trail, Unless Thy love were mightier than the wrath Of all the tempests that beset my path? Thy world, O God, so fierce, And I so frail. Yet, though its arrows threaten oft to pierce My fragile mail, Cities of refuge rise where dangers cease, Sweet silences abound, and all is peace. ~Winfred Ernest Garrison
I love the ending, “Cities of refuge rise where dangers cease, sweet silences abound, and all is peace.”