Colonists and Native Americans alternate in these poems of encounter between the intruding culture and the culture the colonist found. Walking in Stone refers to spiritual sources powerful enough to sink their footsteps into rock. Against such a background, John Spaulding finds voices of encounter (in a way he speaks for them by inheritance-his ancestors came to New England in 1750 and one married a Native American). His poems resemble journal entries, oral testimonies. The "knife people," the "iron men," as the Indians call them, come in "floating islands" across the sea. The colonists saw them as "wild people," "Satan's children." Separately and together in these powerful poems they suffer cold and pestilence, capture and slaughter, and although one is the military victor, both suffer spiritual loss.