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The Volunteer

Robert Service

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The Volunteer
Added by: Paul Springthorpe
A vivid insite of those who unselfishly volunteered to defend the freedom of their country and people.

It's a great pity, the same dedication doesn't appear to be around during these troubled times.
Added by: Lisa G.
The speaker in this poem ends up resignedly enlisting in the military only after he sees soldiers coming back with wounds. He only decides to fight out of guilt, because he doesn't see any reason why he should be spared from the war when his neighbors have had to take part in it. He isn't fighting for his country, because as he makes clear he feels as if his country has let him down.

What I thought was interesting was Service's use of vernacular to make the volunteer sound stupid. e.e. cummings did the same thing in his poem "ygUDuh," which was about another volunteer who was fighting for entirely different reasons. To me it seems a little unfair. Just because people talk like hillbillies doesn't mean they are incapable of making rational decisions. But I guess it works.

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