EDIT: Back on a real keyboard.
I know you understand this, but for completeness, the sentence does not mean that.
The concept “you” is not present anywhere in the sentence. It can only be implied by context. The sentence could be about a dog or about a lamp.
The subject in this sentence is the zero pronoun.
Yes, exactly. The senryu relates to a common expression about being so busy you could use a hand from the cat.
I believe the use of は subtly emphasizes 今 more than 暇 (compared to replacing は with の, for example) — expressly because 今 becomes the topic!
This is a contrastive/constraining/specifying usage of は (the author is bored right now, not some other time) but that doesn’t make “now” any less of a topic to my way of thinking.
What is the disagreement?
Does the disagreement come down to “the topic must always be the first thing in a sentence”? If so, that should be possible to disprove with an example if I’m correct (this puts the onus on me, but I’d like to ensure this is the disagreement).
Or is it that a は-identified topic marker must always follow a complete clause? Again, the onus would be on me to disprove this.
Or is it that は after a noun (or something nominalized) doesn’t always identify a topic. If that’s the case, the onus is on others to provide a counter-example.
Another example of a non-topic word before は?
I just came across this sentence on Kitsun’s website (apparently from an anime or manga):
That should hold for a while
(I’m not certain, but there appeared to be a space after the は so I included it. I don’t guess it matters).
The core sentence is 持つでしょう (“[that] should hold”). 少し qualifies the core sentence (basically adding “[for] a little while”). I’d interpret これで as meaning: “this as a means”. The は seems to emphasize the constraining “for a little while”.
The question is whether this は introduces a topic or is purely a “contrasting は”.
In my opinion, this does appear to be an example of は solely performing a contrasting/clarifying/qualifying function. I’d agree that it doesn’t introduce a topic.
I think 少し is 副詞 (an adverb) in this sentence, not 名詞, though, so I don’t think it invalidates my “は-marked nouns are always topics” theory, though.
Note that this sentence “works” without the は: 少しもつでしょう is still grammatical (just like 難しくない vs. 難しくはない did before). The adverb 少し modifies the verb 持つ.
But in the original sentence, 今暇 doesn’t work at all without a particle between the two nouns (は was used in the original, and my mind went to の). That’s part of the reason why I think it must be a topic.
Again, let’s stick to evidence based reasoning. Can we put the core of the disagreement into words?
My argument synopsized
I believe that は following a noun (or something nominalized to act as a noun) always identifies a topic. I can be convinced otherwise if shown a counter-example, but this has been my interpretation for the examples thus far.
In conversation, modifiers don’t always precede what they affect (we sometime utter less than complete thoughts):
B: <confused look>
The complete sentence was （◯が）ボールを投げた (Maru threw a ball), but A-san left too much out initially, confusing his audience, so he fleshed out the sentence. Note that the actual subject is still implied.
I believe this is similar to the senryu
I’ve added an explicit pause, but this is precisely how I interpret this poem. The topic marker comes late, which is unusual, but it’s still before the clause it’s affecting: 「（◯が） 暇 （だ）」.
Re-reading the recent debate, I’m trying to isolate the disagreement.
We seem to agree that 暇 is the core sentence fragment. I initially “filled in the blanks” as:「暇（がある）」, but agree that 「暇 （だ）」is perhaps even simpler and more likely.
Is the disagreement coming down to the difference between these two diagrams?
If so, this seems a small difference visually or semantically. It comes down to whether the topic affects the entire clause or just the one half of the things being coupled in the copula (the B in an “A is B” clause).
Is there even a difference? I can see both sides:
In one sense, 今 is only modifying 暇 and nothing else.
On the other hand, nothing else is actually present in that clause. The zero-pronoun subject and copula are implied.
It seems the difference between “Now, it is boring” and “It is now boring” (which makes me want to take a nap!)