Dear Ugly Duckling…

Dear Ugly Duckling

I write to you because you are too familiar.
Do you not find it strange that I’d seen you,
read you a hundred times before,
but never felt the pain that I now feel?
I did not recognize you then,
I was blinded by Hans Christian Andersen’s pen
The simple tale that was meant to teach me a lesson.

My lived experience has made me see
I am much like you
You are much like me
And when I look around in my community
My spirit aches for the countless reflections
of you
Who named you so and why?
Your story made my heart cry
And how long did you have to wait
To belong to a crowd that would not negate
Your very existence?

From whence did your endurance come?
Waiting between the covers three decades and some
Patiently, but sometimes in despair
To find your voice and whisper
“There is something wrong here!”
Seize it, retell it, don’t let it go!
You must know, they must know
that Ugly Ducklings exist
inside the covers of countless texts,
between title and credits on movie screens,
inside the walls of schools, colleges, and universities
silenced, illegitimately named and dying inside.
They wander along the margins their true selves to find,
society’s pawns,
because no one has yet told them
…they truly are swans.

About Késa Munroe-Anderson

Késa Munroe-Anderson is a zealous, community-oriented individual who practices an Africentric approach to leadership. Living out her philosophy that leadership and lifelong learning go hand in hand, Késa has attained a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with Honours (1999) and a Master of Arts Degree in English (2000) from Acadia University, as well as a Master of Education in Lifelong Learning with a focus in Africentric Leadership at Mount Saint Vincent University, graduating in 2008 as valedictorian of her class. Currently, Késa is a candidate in the inter-university Doctorate in Educational Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University and her research explores the role of spirituality as an anti-oppressive agent in the formal education of African Nova Scotian learners. In 2013, Késa successfully attained a Doctorate Award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to pursue this research topic. She has been awarded numerous other honours including a Doctorate Award from Mount Vincent University’s Faculty of Education in 2013, and a Delmore "Buddy" Daye Learning Institute graduate research fellowship in 2014 and 2015. Photo credit: Paul Adams Sr. of Adams Photography

One thought on “Dear Ugly Duckling…

  1. Carol

    Have forwarded your excellent poem to my granddaughter who is studying Aplied Theatre at U Victoria. Know that she will savour it.


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