Tweet "I rhyme to see myself/ to set the darkness echoing" Tupac couldn't have put it better himself. MP3: Seamus Heaney-Personal Helicon Reading poetry can be a proper sweaty struggle. Especially when you are a young reader. Many of the poems I tackled as a youth left me feeling alienated and a bit dim. When your pre-frontal cortex is still forming away, a poem like T.S. Eliot's 'The Wasteland' is nothing short of an impenetrable castle made of solid ice encasing the murky forms of people who will always be 'smarter than you' moving around inside. It still mostly is, actually. Thank God then for Heaney. Not just for his poems, but for his truthful prose that guides you into the daunting world of poetry, shining a light onto some of its more elusive creations. Here he is, writing about his own youthful struggles with Eliot's poems... "later, during my first year at Queen's University, when I read in E.M Forster's 'Howard's End' an account of the character called Leonard Bast as somebody doomed forever to be familiar with the outsides of books, my identification was not with the privileged narrative voice but with Bast himself, pathetic scrambler on the edge of literacy." It's comforting to read the likes of that from a Nobel Laureate. His prose collection 'Finders Keepers' makes brilliant and essential reading for anyone interested in a series of crystalline texts on the art of poetry. Like John Updike, another favourite writer of mine, Seamus Heaney is a wizard at making that which is initially obscure ring clear. His clarity of thought is a gift to readers. And his poems, of course, are wonderful. Happy 70th Birthday.