Dumfries has made a minor industry from Robert Burns living his final years here. After checking into my hotel yesterday, I took a wee walk around the various Burns sites. Intuitive readers might assume that my first stop was the Globe Inn based on my previous poem and they’d be right. I also hit the Burns Museum which details his time here. On a Sunday afternoon, I was one of the few visitors and the docents were eager to chat. I mentioned that I was heading to the Burns Mausoleum and they told me to visit his residence first and ask if they’d let me into the Mausoleum and sure enough, since I asked, one of the lovely lasses working at Burns House grabbed the keys and escorted me to St. Michael’s Kirkyard.
Burns’ final resting place is guarded by iron fencing and clear plexiglass so I thought it wasn’t like I hadn’t already seen inside on my previous visit until I actually got inside. The hollow sound of the key in the old iron lock and the door creaking open, echoing within the mausoleum sounded like it was straight from a Hollywood foley artist. Then I looked up at the ceiling and found myself staring at a golden angel and stars on an gorgeous cerulean field.
I’ve long been a fan of Burns’ poetry but now that I’m walking these same streets with the knowledge that my fourth great grandmother, Mary Milligan, was in her late teens and early twenties, living very near here while Burns was in his heyday, I’d like think she caught his eye, if only for a moment.