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It seems like this is a remnant of (or reference to) older forms of Japanese. Is that all there is to it, or does it have special meaning?

Examples from songs:

歌声 笑い声 満ちる大空 目指すは憧れ

(DuDiDuWa*lalala - KOTOKO)

吹きやまぬは残り風 [...]

(残り風 - いきものがかり)

And lastly, the same with が:
(At least I suspect that it's not the "but" kind of が. Feels like the subject particle for some reason.)

巡り逢ったが 運の尽き


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up vote 10 down vote accepted

This construct was common in classical Japanese, but now it is archaic or poetic. In classical Japanese, the attributive form of conjugating words can be directly followed by particles which attach to nouns (without inserting の). 目指すは would become 目指すのは in modern Japanese, 吹きやまぬは would become 吹きやまぬのは or 吹きやまないのは, and so on.

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Simple as that, huh. Thanks for the answer :) –  Hyperworm Aug 31 '11 at 22:37
Ah, I just realized that my last example wasn't in plain/attributive form. Is it the same idea, or just が acting as "but"? (Hmm, almost a new question at this point...) –  Hyperworm Sep 1 '11 at 1:00
@Hyperworm: It is the same structure. た in 巡り逢った in that example is the attributive form of 過去の助動詞「た」 (the auxiliary verb た meaning past). –  Tsuyoshi Ito Sep 1 '11 at 1:06
Thank you again! My lack of knowledge of the linguistic terminology side of Japanese is showing. ^^; –  Hyperworm Sep 1 '11 at 1:09
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