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Poetry Moment: 'The catcher and the sighs', by Cee Williams

Poet Cee Williams

This is Poetry Moment on WPSU – a weekly program featuring the work of contemporary Pennsylvania poets. Your host is poet and author Marjorie Maddox, a 2023 Monson Arts Fellow, author of 20 books, and professor of English and creative writing at the Lock Haven campus of Commonwealth University.

Welcome to Poetry Moment.

It’s the season for baseball—and poetry. This April, National Poetry month, grab your glove. It’s time to play ball!

“Sown, grown and setting roots in Erie Pennsylvania,” that’s how poet Cee Williams describes himself. He adds, “I spend an inordinate amount of time watching baseball and complaining about the kids in my driveway.” Williams is an avid gardener, devoted dad to a Treeing Walker Coonhound named Ella, as well as a proud uncle and a grateful son. His work has appeared in various chapbooks and publications, including 2 Bridges Review and Kendall Hunt's Composing Poetry: A Guide to Writing Poems and Thinking Lyrically.

Here’s to the poetry of the game! The beauty, the grace, the lurch, the slide, the whoop, the holler, the hope, and—yes—also the cries and sighs from disappointed fans. Today’s poet describes the climb and fall of the 2019 season of the Erie SeaWolves.

Here’s “The Catcher and the Sighs (Erie SeaWolves, 2019)” by Cee Williams.

- - -

  We were still in it
right up
— until the final pitch
and then
            —the all encompassing banality
set the watchers and casual passengers adrift -
a sea of what-ifs
           and there's always next season

next season has yet to arrive
and our catcher
—he died

cracked skull
            skateboard riding
above the bluffs at
or sometime shortly

—after the loss
        and the old hometown

— went back to what it always was
               a couple stops short of the Majors
Snow Globe champs
Jim Crow Award
             yard birds
on hungry nights
                    no pot hot enough
                                   to take away
       the big league chew

and now to fly so—
                     far away from away
                                     – from such things as last place
only to consecrate the rise with memorialized
—newspaper butterflies
             exalting the night
                             a .200 hitter caught a tired—
extra-inning heater right
  in the sweet spot
  and we forgot all about –

what it takes
          to catch a game
to be the one squatting behind the plate
                          —all the better to see the glittering bay
         the strength it takes
to make the throw to second plate

to wait for next season
for something—
resembling a new wardrobe
                 new uniforms
uniform enlightenment
and maybe
just maybe

a lighter load
               —at the end of the shovel.

- - -

That was “The Catcher and the Sighs” by Cee Williams. Thanks for listening. 

Listen for Poetry Moment with Marjorie Maddox Mondays during Morning Edition and All Things Considered on WPSU. You can more episodes at

Our theme music is by Eric Ian Farmer.

Marjorie Maddox is the host of WPSU's Poetry Moment for the 2023-24 season. She has been a professor of English and creative writing since 1990 at the Lock Haven campus of Commonwealth University.