"Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
The poem was often quoted by Winston Peters at packed public meetings in the 1990s as he railed against the superannuation surcharge and failures of the Serious Fraud Office to act against the Winebox.
It seemed to fit Peters' own maverick personality as he brought together a patchwork of constituencies, propelling New Zealand First to success in the first MMP Parliament.
The party's fortunes have fluctuated wildly since and the 2.67 per cent at this month's election was its worst ever, tipping the party's nine MPs out of Parliament.
The lines from Dylan Thomas would seem like a fitting epitaph for Peters' political obituary today, were it ready to be written.
But Peters does not do anything according to others' timetables.
He was back in his Beehive office this week as outgoing Foreign Minister to receive farewell visits from United States ambassador Scott Brown and Japanese ambassador Hiroyasu Kobayashi.
The New Zealand First caucus also had a private dinner, except for Shane Jones who had a prior commitment.
The surprising thing about Peters two weeks on from defeat is that he is not a seething bundle of resentment and lashing out at others to blame for the result.
That doesn't mean he has accepted responsibility but he is said to be anything but raging at present.
He is apparently in good spirits, relaxed and looking forward to a summer of fishing in Northland before his own future and the party's next steps are addressed.
If some have bitterness about the result, it is not currently evident in Peters.
For his own future, there is already Beehive speculation about whether he would accept a role as ambassador to the United States later next year.
He would need to have handed on the leadership of the party to someone else – Fletcher Tabuteau and Tracey Martin are the only logical options - and the court case dealing with charges relating to the New Zealand First Foundation would need to be behind him.
But there is a case for Peters to get the job - currently held by career diplomat Rosemary Banks, who came out of retirement to take it - and not as sinecure.
In the past three years he has championed the relationship with the US, trade in particular, and the imperative for that will not diminish whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden wins next week's presidential election.
He is familiar with the US system and it with him, and he would be a focus of leadership for Pacific states in Washington or New York.
A diplomatic posting is not always an attractive option for former Foreign Ministers who are used to calling the shots. Murray McCully once said he would rather saw off his own arm with a rusty screwdriver than have a diplomatic posting.
Peters himself has criticised the practice of giving posting to ex-politicians but with exceptions - Brian Donnelly to the Cook Islands, for example, and Mike Moore to Washington.
It may be that Peters' state of calm belies a driving ambition to get back into politics in 2023 and that he want to continue to lead the party.
Decisions about the party and its leader are likely to be made at a special meeting next year.
Whatever Peters' decision, his future is guaranteed to be anything but gentle.