What is the meaning of Rupert Brooke's poem "The Voice"?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Much of Rupert Brooke's success stems from his acceptance into literary circles, whether for his poetry or his good looks and his engaging personality. "The Voice" is one of his earlier poems and was written in 1909 when Brooke was 22 years old. He has been criticized for writing over-simplified poetry and "The Voice" is considered quite idealistic and basic in describing its themes of love and nature. 

The narrator expects to find all life's answers in the woods and anticipates "the hour of knowing." There is a religious expectation as the three most significant elements of his existence "Night, and the woods, and you" become "One" which is comparable to the Holy Trinity (God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus) with a similar physical manifestation ("you"). He is hoping to understand and come to terms with those things which confuse him and why he feels so strongly about "the three that I loved." He recognizes the complexity of life but fails to comprehend it. 

When "suddenly" his dream-like state is interrupted he is angry. The tone of the poem changes and he realizes that the truth will continue to elude him because of a lack of respect and a failure to appreciate the peace in nature which contributes to feelings of bliss. The woods may have been ready to reveal the truth but his own insecurities have stopped him. "The Voice" mocks the silence and with the "spell broken" there is no chance of him finding the "key." People are so wrapped up in pleasantries ("platitudes") that all sincerity is lost. He wishes that the "voice" could be silent which is why he says "I wish that you were dead" because then he can search for real meaning in his life. He is very conflicted and struggling to come to terms with events and his own feelings.