We wish all our readers a very Happy Jamshedi Navroze Mubarak. May this new spring bring about a new post-pandemic world. Below is a beautiful poem written by our dear reader Deenaz P. Coachbuilder.
About Deenaz P.Coachbuilder, Ph. D.
Deenaz is an educator, writer, artist and environmental advocate. A retired school principal, professor in special education and consulting speech pathologist, she is the recipient of several professional and community awards, including President Obama’s “Volunteer Service Award”. Her poetry, commentaries and essays have appeared in international, national and regional publications.
Her books of poems, “Metal Horse and Shadows: A Soul’s Journey” and “Imperfect Fragments” have been received with critical acclaim. Deenaz is the language editor of FEZANA Journal. She is a Zoroastrian Parsi who resides in Riverside, California.
On April 2nd. 2019, Mayor Bailey of Riverside, California, presented Deenaz’ painting and poem on his city blog, in celebration of the Zoroastrian Navroz.
It is the twenty-first of March
the spring equinox
the first day of the rest of the year.
The days of Muktad* are over.
Steeped in remembering and praying for
the fravashis of so many of her dear ones,
the souls of the departed,
she senses their spiritual presence,
and of her own farohar, her ever present guardian.
The darkness of winter
with its season of somnolence,
its sense of faithlessness
The sun, symbol of light and creation
glows with greater clarity.
Now is the time for creativity
the awakening of dormant seedlings
a renewal of the spirit
the very possibilities of life.
the hours of darkness
just as the light of wisdom and asha*
over death and despair.
Today is Navroz
the most joyous of celebrations
rich in symbolism.
This good Zoroastrian warrior*
has cleaned her home, the walls, the drapes, the floors
the hurt and the disappointments
the detritus of the past.
The perfume of hyacinths and tube roses
wafts through gleaming rooms
the mesmerizing smell of sandal wood
to ward off evil spirits and to honor
those of the dead,
burning in silver chalices.
Her family has bathed,
donned festive garments for a festive day.
“Have you said your prayers?” she admonishes
her young son, reminding him
is the essence of all believers.
She draws in a long, deep breath
with a sense of renewal.
Today begins a regeneration
of her own life,
leading, she hopes,
to a renovation of this present world.
She promises to herself
to be diligent,
to seek improvement daily
until it becomes an enduring part of her being,
for that is her mission.
It is a day of special kindness,
bundles of presents await eager fingers,
and nourishing food
to be distributed to those in need.
The Sofreh, the Navroz offerings
are spread across her white, linen covered table.
Seven dishes representing the creator and six
Zoroastrian abstract attributes or archangels
invite the partaker.
There is the Ajlis, seven dried fruit and nuts
pistachios, roasted chickpeas, almonds, hazelnuts,
fine skinned figs, newly dried apricots and golden raisins.
Today she has added her favorites
dry walnuts, ruby red pomegranate seeds
and luscious purple mulberries plucked just yesterday
from her backyard tree.
In a prominent spot,
flames in a silver filigreed afargan,
a symbol of wisdom, goodness and purity
dance in the morning breeze.
In a little bowl is her specialty,
grain, sprouted carefully over five days.
There is wine, sugar, milk, syrup, honey,
candy and rice pudding.
As she lays the table she remembers that the
seven attributes of this temporal planet,
fire, air, water, earth
plants, animals and human beings,
are also to be revered and depicted in her offerings.
She has recited a confessional patet*.
This soldier examines her thoughts,
words and deeds.
Not only will each be weighed
on the scales
determining her afterlife,
but on her shoulders
the destiny of the world
its very resurrection.
*Muktad-the days before the new year in which prayers are said for the souls of the dead.
On the last day a gambhar or communal feast is held, with the souls of the dead invited to partake.
*Zoroastrian warrior- Zoroastrians are warriors engaged in a ceaseless cosmic struggle against evil and our own temptations. When our “good thoughts, words and deeds” outweigh their evil counterparts, a resurrection of the world will be brought about in the light of the creator Ahura Mazda’s wish.
*patet-prayers of repentance for past sins.
Deenaz P. Coachbuilder